The crop markets dipped ahead of today’s USDA reports. The USDA will release its weekly Export Sales report early this morning, which will then be followed by its monthly Crop Production and WASDE reports at 11:00 AM CDT. Check back here for results and commentary this afternoon. Traders had been covering shorts earlier this week, whereas bulls seemed to be liquidating longs overnight. December corn dipped 3.25 cents to $4.6925/bushel early Thursday morning, while May slid 3.0 cents to $4.90.

Long liquidation also seemed to hit the soy complex Thursday morning. The Asian palm oil markets bounced from recent lows overnight, which seemed to boost soy oil futures as well. However, bean and meal traders seemed to be reducing their long holdings ahead of today’s reports. November soybeans fell 6.25 cents to $13.52/bushel in early Thursday trading, whereas October soyoil gained 0.13 cents to 42.85 cents/pound, and October soymeal declined $2.7 to $426.5/ton.

The wheat markets were mixed again overnight. Winter wheat quotes moved mostly lower Wednesday night, which certainly seemed in keeping with the general crop market theme of long liquidation prior to today’s USDA reports. However, spring wheat prices in Minneapolis increased modestly. The reason for the advance was not readily apparent. December CBOT wheat slipped 1.5 cents to $6.465/bushel around dawn Thursday, while December KCBT wheat edged 0.75 cent lower to $6.94, but December MGE futures rose 1.0 cents to $7.11.

Cattle futures bounced somewhat overnight. Although the WASDE report released later this morning includes some supply/demand data for the livestock, dairy and poultry markets, cattle and hog traders traditionally pay little attention to it. Thus, there was probably little position squaring last night. Ultimately, the modest cattle gains may have reflected a response to Wednesday’s firmness in beef values. October cattle futures rallied 0.35 cents to 125.40 cents/pound early Thursday morning, while December crept up 0.15 cents to 128.72. Meanwhile, October feeder cattle climbed 0.20 cents to 158.42 cents/pound, and January added 0.37 cents to 158.62.

Cash and wholesale news seemingly boosted hog futures this morning. Concerns about the fourth-quarter outlook seemed to depress swine futures Wednesday, with technical considerations likely exaggerating the decline. However, afternoon reports from the cash and wholesale markets proved quite strong later in the days, which almost surely provided the upward impetus witnessed overnight. October hog futures inched up 0.07 cents to 90.37 cents/pound as Chicago trading accelerated this morning, while December advanced 0.25 cents to 87.50.

Cotton futures also lost ground Wednesday night. As with the other crop markets, the cotton outlook could be substantially affected by the results of today’s USDA reports. Thus, it wasn’t terribly surprising to see bullish traders also lightening up their positions before the data are released. December cotton futures skidded 0.20 cents to 84.15 cents/pound just after sunrise Thursday, while March lost 0.21 to 83.68.