Corn futures were sharply higher Wednesday closing with gains of 8 to 12 3/4 cents. December futures closed 12 3/4 cents higher at $3.33 1/2. March 07 futures settled 12 1/4 cents higher at $3.47. Several futures contracts posted new contract highs. The December closed at a ten-year high for a nearby contract. Firm cash prices seemed to support futures early in the session. While there was little new in the market, futures gained upward momentum as the day progressed.

Soybean futures surged higher again on Wednesday on renewed fund buying. November futures settled 14 3/4 cents higher at $6.45 per bushel. January closed 14 cents higher at $6.58. Harvest delays and quality concerns in the eastern Corn Belt were supportive. Some light showers fell in the east, but conditions are expected to improve before light rain returns early next week.

Wheat futures were higher on the close on Wednesday. Chicago December wheat was 4 1/2 cents higher at $4.87 1/2. KCBT December was 3 cents higher at $5.19. MGE December wheat was up 4 1/4 cents at $4.99 1/2. The wheat rally was muted compared to the gains in corn and soybeans. Tight global supplies are supportive, but lagging U.S. export demand remains a concern. Light rain in Australia is too late to revive the crop. There was some disappointment that most of Egypt's latest wheat purchase was Russian origin rather than U.S.

Cattle futures were mixed on the close Wednesday. The December contract fell 27 points to close at $87.55. February was down 15 points at $90.67. A few cattle were traded at $1.39 on a dressed basis in Nebraska, a $1.00 below last week. At midday, the choice cutout was up .28 to 148.37. Cash trade is expected to become more active late this week.

Lean hog futures closed mixed but mostly lower on Wednesday due to signs of weakness in the cash market, further deterioration in packers' margins and profit taking after the recent big gains. The December contract closed at $64.00 down 55 cents from Tuesday's close. Wednesdays' slaughter is estimated at 423,000 head. Packers remain aggressive buyers even though margins are thin or in the red. After the steep gains recently, futures remain vulnerable to a correction.