Corn futures are 7-9 cents higher at midday. Corn has added to modest early gains along with strength in soybeans and wheat. Harvest is winding down which has alleviated some selling pressure and the cash market is firming. Weekly export sales improved from nearly nothing last week to 6.6 million bushels. This is still a very slow export pace and came in below expectations closer to 10 million bushels. December corn is 8 cents higher at $7.53 ½. The March contract is 7 ¾ cents higher at $7.52 ½.

In mid morning trading, soybean futures are sharply higher extending gains from Wednesday. The market has tacked on about 15 cents from where it was earlier this morning. Basis levels remain much stronger seasonally than what is normal. And now as the harvest winds down in the Midwest at an earlier than normal date, there will be a reduced flow of cash beans to market to pressure prices. Concerning South American weather, some private forecasters are predicting a trend toward warm and drier than normal weather in planting areas of northern Brazil over the next week. November and January beans were up 30 cents trading at $15.38 to $15.39.

Wheat futures are scoring double-digit gains in mid-session trade Thursday after weekly export sales finally came in above trade expectations. That’s a vital sign because sales year-to-date are still running about 230 million bu. behind where they should be, even to warrant USDA’s latest export forecast for the year at 1.150 billion bu., which was down 50 million from the September WASDE. Also helpful is the fact that critical chart support at the lower boundary of the months-long sideways trading range for wheat held firm once again and dried up new selling interest. December Chicago wheat is 14 cents higher at $8.70 ¼. KC December is 13 ½ cents higher at $9.07 ½ and Minneapolis is 9 ½ higher at $9.49.

Cattle futures are higher at midday. Futures are gaining buying support on follow-through from Wednesday’s strong technical performance. December futures have rallied to a 3 ½ week high. Beef prices continue to perform well. No cash trade has been reported, but with futures about $3 higher so far this week, expectations are building for higher cash trade. December cattle futures are 55 points higher at $128.15 and February is 55 points higher at $131.67.

Lean hog futures are mixed in a narrow range at midday. The combination of mostly steady cash hog prices and a lack of new fundamental news are keeping most traders on the sidelines. Cash hog prices were lower on Wednesday, but the pork cutout values edged up. The next piece of fundamental news will be Monday’s Cold Storage report which is expected to show a big increase in pork supplies compared to a year ago. The December contract is steady at $79.175 while the February contract is 32 cents higher at $85.30.