Corn futures closed 7 cents higher on Thursday. Corn prices soared fueled by expectations of a bullish USDA report on Friday morning and firm export sales. The December 2012 contract reached a new high of 8.29 3/4 cents per bushel on production worries and yield reductions. The average production estimate for corn in tomorrow’s report is 11.026 billion bushels, approximately 3 billion bushels lower than the previous month. The average yield estimate is expected to be 127 bushels per acre, with a range of 117.6 to 135 bushels per acre. Domestic ending stocks are anticipated to drop to 660 million bushels.

Soybean futures closed 50 to 54 cents higher on Thursday. Overall, the soy complex posted moderate gains ahead of tomorrow USDA supply/demand report. September soymeal and soyoil closed $20 and 76 cents higher respectively. Price support in the market can be attributed to firm supply and demand fundamentals as well as uncertainty surrounding this year’s production output and yield expectations. Yield estimates are expected to average 37.8 bushels per acre while production output is expected to average 2.8 billion bushels. Prices were pulled even higher as export sales to China continue to roll in, with a new purchase of 1665,000 metric tonnes reported today.

Wheat futures closed 11 to 14 cents higher on Thursday. Wheat prices followed corn and soybean futures higher today, while trading sideways ahead of tomorrow’s WASDE report. Spring wheat yields are expected to good possibly boosting output, while domestic stocks are expected to be higher, at approximately 673 million bushels. The average of analysts’ expectations for world ending stocks are approximately 178.9 million tonnes bushels.

Live cattle futures closed mixed on Thursday. Live cattle futures were supported early on by renewed strength in wholesale beef prices and firm export demand. USDA reported boxed beef prices over a $1 higher on Wednesday and at midday for both choice and select cuts. Exports sales for the week were also supportive with net export sales reported at 18,500 tonnes, approximately 2,700 tonnes higher than the previous week. However, upside momentum could not be sustained due to uncertainty in the cash market. Although traders are optimistic concerning cash trade, sluggish movement in the cash market weighed on futures.

Lean hogs futures closed mixed on Thursday. Although cash prices continue to slide, futures discount to the lean hog index underpinned nearby contracts (August and October). The August 3rd index is $94.14 while the projected August 6th index is $93.75. Also, worth noting is the October contracts steep discount to the front month contract (August), with an approximate $15.00 per cwt difference between the two. With corn prices posting another all time high of $8.29 per bushel, deferred contracts were slightly pressured by rising costs of production. The October contract closed up 32 cents at $76.00. December closed 15 cents lower at $73.45.