Ag markets moved generally higher Wednesday

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Corn futures resumed their early-week rally Wednesday after dipping Tuesday night. General supply tightness probably offered support despite news of diminished ethanol industry production last week. But the latest forecasts point to hot, dry Corn Belt conditions later this month, which could stress the late-planted crop. In addition, a Memphis-based firm lowered its estimates of U.S. acreage Wednesday morning, which probably supported prices as well. July corn climbed 9.0 cents to $6.825/bushel at its Wednesday close, while December jumped 20.0 cents to $5.705.

Soybean prices closed higher Wednesday, with tight old crop supplies offering continued support. A private forecast of reduced U.S. acreage probably boosted the new crop contracts as well. Moreover, the latest weather forecasts indicated late-June Corn Belt weather could be hotter and drier than previously anticipated. July soybean futures closed up 12.25 cents to $15.23/bushel late Tuesday, while July soyoil advanced 0.52 cents to 49.33 cents/pound and July soybean meal rose $1.7 to $453.5/ton.

Wheat futures turned decisively higher Wednesday, with weather driven gains being exaggerated by a reduced acreage forecast. Talk that excessive moisture will curtail North Dakota acreage apparently supported prices, especially after a late report from a Memphis-based consultancy pointed in that direction. Forecasts for surprisingly hot, dry weather over the central U.S. later this month likely boosted futures as well. July CBOT wheat leapt 19.5 cents to $7.07/bushel at its Wednesday afternoon settlement, while July KCBT wheat rocketed 20.5 cents higher to $7.3975, and July MGE futures soared 14.5 to $8.135.

Cattle futures rallied in concert with the surging hog and pork complex Wednesday. The extreme strength being exhibited by the latter markets are apparently encouraging bulls looking for a seasonal cattle/beef low. The beef losses posted at midday sent an opposing message, as did the hog futures setback from early highs. August cattle surged 0.97 cents to 120.47 cents/pound as pit trading ended Wednesday, while December advanced 1.25 cents to 126.27. August feeder cattle futures ran up 0.85 cents to 144.65 cents/pound and November rallied 0.80 to 150.35.

Hog futures raced upward again Wednesday as Chicago traders chased the cash market higher. After having officially topped its 2012 peak earlier in the day, the CME lean hog index, which futures cash-settle against, is now expected to reach 103.87 cents/pound tomorrow. The sustainability of the ongoing cash/wholesale rally is still open to question, but it is making the summer/fall contracts look cheap at the moment. July hog futures settled 1.27 cents higher at 99.97 Wednesday afternoon, while December added 0.70 cents to 82.40.

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