Corn futures ended lower today. New lows were set as USDA raised their 2004 production estimate. The December 1 stocks estimate was pegged at 9.449 billion bushels, up nearly 1.5 billion bushels from a year earlier. U.S. ending stocks are now forecast at 1.959 billion bushels, more than double last season's level. March fell 6 1/4 cents to close at $2.00 1/2.



Soybean futures closed lower today as the corn market led crop markets lower. USDA numbers were mostly neutral although December 1st stocks were record higher. USDA cut carryout from 460 million bushels to 435 million. March futures ended 9 1/2 cents lower at $5.33 3/4.



Wheat futures were slightly higher today boosted by a positive Winter Wheat Seedings report. Winter wheat acreage fell to 41.6 million acres, down 1.6 million from the pre-report estimates and down 4% from last year. The positive acreage report was partially offset by higher than expected stocks. CBOT Mar gained 3/4 of a cent to close at $3.07 1/4. KCBT Mar was 2 1/2 cents higher at $3.40 1/4 and MGE Mar was up 1 3/4 cents at $3.46.



Cattle futures were mixed on the close but finished on a strong note following news that cash cattle were trading at $92 in the southern Plains. April futures set a new contract high shortly before the close while February contract stopped just shy of Tuesday's high. February futures closed 17 points higher to close at $92.05.



Lean hog futures gave back part of Tuesday's gains on Wednesday. With cash hog prices far below futures, the recent gains were clearly overdone and traders took profits. The February contract dropped $1.25 following the limit up move on Tuesday and closed at $75.80.