Louis Dreyfus reports fire at largest U.S. soy processing plant

Updates with details on soymeal production, demand

CHICAGO, Feb 16 (Reuters) - Louis Dreyfus Company (LDC) said on Wednesday a fire had broken out in a bag house at its Claypool, Indiana, soybean processing and biodiesel plant on Tuesday and the affected systems had been suspended.

No employees were injured and the fire was put out by 9:15 p.m. central time on Tuesday, LDC said in a statement. LDC's website said soybean deliveries were suspended at the plant on Wednesday. LDC says Claypool is the largest fully integrated soybean processing and biodiesel plant in the United States.

The suspension of deliveries could slow production of soymeal and biodiesel at a time of high demand. Maintenance shutdowns at plants in Iowa and Minnesota in recent months have contributed to soaring prices for the animal feed and biofuel.

Chicago Board of Trade soymeal futures SMv1 rallied to a 7-1/2 year high last week. The benchmark March contract SMH2 was up $4.80 at $443.60 a ton in early trading.

A drought in key growing areas of Argentina was expected to reduce the size of the soybean crop in the key world supplier of soymeal and boost overseas demand for U.S. supplies. The U.S. Agriculture Department raised its forecast for U.S. soymeal exports by 2.9% to 14.4 million tons earlier this month.

(Reporting by Christopher Walljasper and Julie Ingwersen; editing by David Evans)

((caroline.stauffer@thomsonreuters.com; +1-757-390-0985; Reuters Messaging: caroline.stauffer.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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