Corn futures closed higher on Thursday. Corn futures recovered higher on spillover support from strength in the wheat and soybean markets. Increased demand for corn in China added support to prices. China is expected to raise corn exports to 6 million tonnes in 2012/13. July was 5 cents higher at $6.25 and December was 2 cents higher at $5.28 1/4.

Soybean futures closed higher on Thursday. Tight global supplies and foreign demand for soybeans supported prices today. Soybean futures rallied for the third consecutive day. The USDA announced a sale of 480,000 tonnes of soybeans to China for delivery in 2011/12 increasing demand for US soybeans. Declines in Argentinean and Brazilian soybean crops further encouraged prices. The July contract was up 16 cents at $14.38, and the November contract was up 4 1/4 cents at $13.06 1/2.

Wheat futures closed higher on Thursday. Wheat futures remained strong upon closing higher for the fourth straight day. Weather in key wheat producing areas continued to be a significant factor for prices. Dry weather reports in the US Plains, Russia, Ukraine, and Australia supported the market. Additionally, USDA reported exports sales of 100,000 tonnes of U.S. hard red winter wheat to Iraq for 2012/13 delivery, adding an extra lift to prices. CBOT July was 19 cents higher at $6.57 3/4; KCBT July was 16 cents higher at $6.72; and MGE July was 7 1/4 cents higher at $7.67 1/4.

Cattle futures closed higher on Thursday. Movement in the cash cattle market has been quiet but asking prices are still expected to be firm at $122 in the South and $195 in the North. Beef cut-outs were up at midday. Choice was up 24 cents and Select was up $1.02. Traders are awaiting tomorrow’s USDA Cattle on Feed Report which is expected to show a decline in April placements by as much as 11.6 percent. June cattle futures were $1.05 higher at $117.92 and August was 97 cents higher at $119.92.

Lean hog futures closed higher on Thursday. Hog futures were supported by the gains in the cattle market. Favorable cash prices helped shore up hog futures. Cash prices were reported in some areas to be up as much as $1 at $55.50 per cwt. The June contract was up 95 cents at $87.45, and July was $1.05 higher at $88.67.