Corn futures closed slightly higher Friday. Anticipation of a cut in production and decrease in ending stocks in Monday’s USDA reports helped lift prices today. Average trade estimates peg production at 12.5 billion bushels compared to USDA’s August estimate of 12.914 billion, and the average estimate for ending stocks of 663 million bushels compared to USDA’s 671 million in August. Last week’s rally in corn prices has discouraged buying and consumers have been looking at other options in place of corn, which has weighed on prices. December was 2 1/2 cents higher at $7.36 1/2 and March was also 1/2 of a cent higher at $7.47 1/4.  

Soybean futures ended higher Friday. One big market factor that seems to be flying under the radar is that China cancelled 240,000 tonnes of soybeans from the U.S. This should pressure prices when it is realized. Pre-report positioning boosted the market today as the trade looks for bullish cuts to the soybean supply.  The average of trade estimates pegs production at 3.032 billion bushels compared to 3.056 billion last month due to hot dry weather across the Midwest in August. Carryout is forecast down to 151 million bushels versus 155 million in August. The rally in the dollar index to a 6-month high added pressure. November was 8 1/2 cents higher at $14.26 3/4 and January was 8 1/4 cents higher at $14.36 3/4.  

Wheat futures finished lower Friday. Prices fell as the dollar index rallied to a six-month high. Adding pressure was news that India will not have any trade restrictions on wheat. Monday’s supply/demand report is expected to show a slight decrease in 2011/12 ending stocks, with the average trade estimate at 667 million bushels.  Increased competition for exports is coming from the Black Sea region.  CBOT December was 8 1/4 cents lower at $7.29 3/4, KCBT December was 13 1/2 cents lower at $8.32 1/2 and MGE December was 1 cent lower at $9.07 1/4. 

Cattle futures settled lower on Friday. Futures slipped despite strength in the cash market, where prices were up $4-$5 in the Plains.  Slipping beef cutout prices have weighed futures and tighter packer margins have added pressure. U.S. beef plant margins are reportedly down to $18.60 per head compared to $40.90 a week ago. October was 38 cents higher at $118.45 and December was 80 cents lower at $118.85.

Lean hog futures closed higher Friday. Spillover strength from steady to higher trade in the cash market and pork cutout values helped lift futures. Packer margins are good, which has encouraged more slaughter and greater demand in the cash market. A big Saturday slaughter is planned to help make up for the plant closures on Monday due to the Labor Day holiday. October was 45 cents higher at $87.25 and December was also 45 cents higher at $83.58.