Corn contracts went limit down in late March on a bearish quarterly stocks report released by USDA.

The March 28 estimate of 5.4 billion bushels in stocks was 370 million bushels higher than the expected trade guess of 5.03 billion bushels.

Old crop corn futures dropped to $6.95, while new crop corn fell to $5.63.

According to Brian Basting, Advance Trading, Bloomington, Ill., the stocks number implies a low feed residual use from December through February or perhaps the 2012 corn crop was bigger than estimated.

“But at face value, that number implies a much more comfortable corn carryout than what we thought. And that is weighing on wheat prices as well.”

Grain analyst Richard Brock said the grain stocks number implies a corn carryout of between 900 million and 1 billion bushels.

USDA’s Prospective Plantings survey indicated that U.S. corn growers intend to plant 97.3 million acres of corn in 2013, up slightly from last year and 6 percent higher than in 2011. If realized, this will represent the highest planted acreage in the United States since 1936 when an estimated 102 million acres were planted.

USDA’s corn acreage number was “right in line with trade guesses,” Basting said. “Soybean acreage, at 77.1 million acres, was a little lower than trade estimates.”

Basting said the United States “is still going to need a large corn crop this year, but at least for the time being, the market is becoming comfortable about some level of moderate carryout.”

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Soybean planted area for 2013 is estimated at 77.1 million acres, down slightly from last year but the fourth highest on record, if realized. Compared with 2012, planted area is down across the Great Plains with the exception of North Dakota. Nebraska and Minnesota are expecting the largest declines compared with last year, while Illinois and North Dakota are expecting the largest increases.