Dry weather, China's push to fatten its pigs and the lockdown-induced baking bonanza are lifting prices for U.S. row crops.

Futures prices for soybeans, corn and hard red winter wheat--the kind used for baking bread--have risen by about a third since a rally began Aug. 10. Soft red winter wheat, found in animal feed and processed foods, is up about 20%.

EVEN WITH A STRONG CROP THIS YEAR, US FARMERS ARE SUFFERING

The gains are a sharp reversal of fortune for farmers. The global coronavirus pandemic had cast doubt on demand, from the corn that finds its way into motor fuels to the wheat that winds up as restaurant dinner rolls.

In June, investors held a large short position in U.S. agricultural commodity futures, betting that prices would fall. Now they have piled into a historically large wager that prices will rise, said Tracey Allen, agricultural commodities strategist at JPMorgan.

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