Corn moved higher in changeable trading Wednesday. Talk of accelerating harvest rates in the southern part of the country, as well as forecasts for improved weekend rainfall probably weighed on prices Wednesday morning. However, news of export sales and active short-covering ahead of Thursday’s USDA reports apparently pushed the market higher later in the day. December corn closed up 3.5 cents at $4.725/bushel Wednesday afternoon, while May gained 3.0 cents to $4.93.

The prospect of reduced Chinese production likely supported soybeans Wednesday. Chinese officials reportedly expect their current soybean crop to fall 4.2% short of the year-ago total, which probably bodes well for future import demand. However, cash market weakness and improved precipitation prospects this weekend seemed to limit CBOT gains. November soybeans advanced 3.25 cents to $13.5825/bushel at their Wednesday close, while October soyoil lost 0.09 cents to 42.72 cents/pound, whereas October soymeal edged up $0.8 to $429.2/ton.

The wheat markets posted mixed to higher closes Wednesday. News of a sizeable wheat sale to Nigeria and a report that Iran will need to import huge amounts during the coming months probably supported wheat futures Wednesday. Short-covering may also have supported prices. However, Kansas City wheat moved steady-lower, thereby reflecting forecasts for improved precipitation over Southern Plains fields this weekend. December CBOT wheat rose 1.5 cents to $6.48/bushel Wednesday afternoon, while December KCBT wheat was unchanged at $6.9475, and December MGE futures rallied 4.25 cents to $7.10.

Cattle futures were also narrowly mixed Wednesday afternoon. Although persistent beef weakness and growing talk of cash market slippage later this week remained a factor in the CME cattle pit Wednesday, futures end the day around unchanged levels. Slight midsession gains at the wholesale level probably offered support, as did a third consecutive surge in stock market values. October cattle futures inched 0.02 cents higher to 125.05 cents/pound as the pit session ended Wednesday, while December skidded 0.07 cents to 128.57. Meanwhile, October feeder cattle climbed 0.45 cents to 158.22 cents/pound, and January surged 0.47 cents to 158.25.

The hog market suffered surprising losses Wednesday. Cash and wholesale prices have been quite firm lately, thereby pushing nearby CME swine futures significantly higher. However, growing talk of a looming end to the traditional September bounce seemed to depress the hog and pork complex today. October hog futures fell 0.55 cents to 90.30 cents/pound in late Wednesday morning action, while December sank 0.30 cents to 87.25.