Corn futures ended sharply lower on Wednesday. Corn prices were lower early and losses mounted as the day progressed. Favorable crop prospects across much of the Midwest pressured prices. Rain will slow progress this week, but with planting well ahead of normal, a few days delay is not viewed as a threat. Weakness in the corn market was also tied to steep losses in wheat and soybeans. Funds were noted sellers. USDA reported additional sales to unknown destinations for 2012/13 delivery, although it’s not clear that this is additional Chinese business. July corn settled 17 ½ cents lower at $6.11 ½. The December contract was 7 ¾ cents lower at $5.31.

Soybean futures settled lower on Wednesday. Early morning news of over 200,000 tonnes of new-crop soybean sales and 30,000 tonnes of soybean oil to China did establish an early positive tone for the market. But soybean prices fell sharply during the final minutes of trading. Favorable U.S. growing weather weighed down on soybeans as it did against wheat and corn. Outside markets were also negative factors with the dollar stronger and crude oil lower. July futures dropped 18 1/2 cents to close at $14.85 and November slumped 24 1/4 cents to close at $13.68 1/4.

Wheat futures closed lower on Wednesday. Prices dropped hard as heavy selling set in ahead of the close, adding to the day’s losses. The market has been weighed down by expectations for high yields based on findings of the wheat crop tour. However, some of today’s estimates were considerably lower than Tuesday’s record high 53.6 bu/a due to dryer areas of southern Kansas and Oklahoma. Reported average yields at midday were 30.8 bushels per acre, down 4.2 bushels per acre from last year at 35.0 bushels per acre. A steady US dollar and expectations of a good wheat crop continue to add downward pressure on wheat prices. CBOT July was 28 1/2 cents lower at $6.14 1/2; KCBT July was 26 1/2 cents lower at $6.30 1/2; MGE July was 23 1/4 cents lower at $7.51.

Cattle futures closed lower on Wednesday. After mixed trade early in the session, cattle futures turned lower. Weakness in the grain markets carried over into cattle futures. Cattle were also pressured by weakness in the outside markets. The dollar was higher and equities were down. Support stemmed from higher beef prices at midday, an encouraging sign in the wake of the LFTB and BSE scares of the past several weeks. The June contract’s steep discount to recent cash trade was also supportive. June cattle futures settled 65 cents lower at $112.87. August was 50 cents lower at $115.80.

Lean hog futures closed lower on Wednesday. Hog futures started the day higher, but were headed lower by midday. Further declines in the cash hog and pork markets coupled with pressure from outside markets pushed most 2012 hog contracts down by $1 or more. The June contract closed at $84.45, down $1.40. July was $1.45 lower at $85.30.