Corn futures closed 20 to 26 cents higher on Thursday. Hot weather forecasts have returned as the key market mover for grains right now. The market posted moderate gains as updated weather forecasts predict minimal rain across certain portions of the Midwest this weekend. Fears of tightening corn supplies due to lower production yields also supported prices today. USDA slashed corn yield projections to 146 bushels/acre, 20 bushels lower than the previous month’s estimate, increasing traders fears that new crop corn may not be as bountiful as expected.

Soybean futures closed 2 to 4 cents higher on Thursday. Strength in the corn market and firm export demand supported soybean futures, pushing prices higher most of the today’s trading session. Prices began to decline near close on forecasts for rain across the Mississippi Delta and Mid South heading into the weekend, but drier forecasts across the Midwest seem to outweigh other regional weather predictions keeping prices from sliding below unchanged.

Wheat futures closed 16 to 25 cents higher on Thursday. Market prices soared as corn prices rebounded and weather worries across the Atlantic (Black Sea Region) worsened. Declining global wheat production projections and demand for wheat as an alternative feed input continue to underpin market prices. CBOT spring wheat hit a 17 month high after posting a 3 percent gain today. Wheat traded at KCBT and MGE also posted firm gains today.

Cattle futures closed 50 to 98 cents lower on Thursday. Instability in boxed beef prices dominated market fundamentals. Cattle futures closed lower from weakness in boxed beef prices, despite the rally in corn prices, which undoubtedly will lead to higher production costs for cattle producers. Midday boxed beef prices were reported lower for both choice and select cuts. Minimal cash trade was reported in the south with bids as much as $2 lower.

Lean hogs futures closed mixed but mostly higher on Thursday. Front month contract (July) led the rally to a higher close for lean hog futures. The market was pulled higher by strong gains in the corn market and higher cash prices. Cash prices were reported higher on Wednesday as packers secured purchases for this week’s slaughter needs.