Corn futures moved modestly higher Friday. The ag markets continue suffering from limited information during the government shutdown. Corn prices were reportedly boosted by short-covering ahead of the weekend, talk of slowing harvest rates due to wet short-term forecasts and early strength spilling over from the wheat markets. December corn futures closed up 4.0 cents to $4.4325 Friday, while May added 4.25 cents to $4.645/bushel.

The soy complex bounced from early lows Friday. Wire service reports indicate early harvest totals are exceeding anticipated levels, thereby suggesting that trend will persist as harvesting activity moves north. However, the early-morning release of Canadian production figures posted a canola figure slightly below forecasts. Moreover, a respected Ag industry firm lowered its estimate of the U.S. bean crop. Those events sparked the late-week surge. November soybeans climbed 6.75 cents to $12.95/bushel in late Friday trading, while December soyoil slipped 0.03 cents to 40.24 cents/pound, and December soymeal rose $3.1 to $418.4/ton.

Canadian wheat data may have dragged wheat prices downward. Wheat futures had sustained an impressive advance over the past two weeks, which may have set the stage for a setback before the weekend. The spark for that selling may have come from Canada, where Stats Canada published a wheat production total modestly above predicted levels. December CBOT wheat sank 2.25 cents to $6.87 bushel at Friday’s settlement, while December KCBT wheat dropped 5.25 cents to $7.5025, and December MGE futures slid 4.0 cents to $7.4625.

Wholesale strength probably boosted cattle futures Friday. The cattle market is still feeling the lack of USDA information, which probably explains trader reluctance to push prices far in either direction in early trading. Thus, the midsession surge was quite surprising and very likely reflected supportive news. We strongly suspect private reports of wholesale gains spurred the move. December cattle futures jumped 0.65 cents to 132.42 to end the week, while April rallied 0.65 cents to 135.45. Meanwhile, November feeder cattle ran up 0.32 cents to 165.95 cents/pound, and January gained 0.55 cents to 165.95.

Hog futures posted an impressive advance to end the week. Again, the lack of USDA news is very likely limiting activity in the hog pit. However, as with cattle, prices surged just before midday Friday, which probably reflected strong wholesale and/or production news from private sources. December hog futures leapt 0.85 cents to 87.62 cents/pound as trading would down for the week, while April surged 0.67 cents to 90.32.