Corn futures closed sharply higher on Wednesday. The rally was led by gains in crude oil and the stock market. Some support was also generated by ideas that U.S. exports will benefit from the smaller corn crop in Argentina and the dispute between farmers and the government. May ended 13 cents higher at $3.63 1/2 and December was 13 cents higher at $3.93 3/4.

Soybean futures settled strongly higher on Wednesday. Fund buying was triggered by the gains in the stock market, strength in crude oil, and talk that China has purchased three cargoes of U.S. soybeans due to uncertainty about Argentina's soybean exports. May ended 15 cents higher at $8.68 1/2 and November was 19 cents higher at $8.10 1/4.

Wheat futures posted strong gains on Wednesday. The short-covering rally was triggered by spillover support from corn and soybeans along with firm outside markets. Drought in the southern Plains remains a concern for the winter wheat crop. Forecasts show little chance of significant rainfall over the next week to ten days. CBOT May closed 21 1/4 cents higher at $5.23, KCBT May ended 20 1/4 cents higher at $5.65 1/2 and MGE May was 16 3/4 cents higher at $6.06.

Cattle futures closed higher on Wednesday. Strength in the beef market and stock market helped rally futures. Boxed beef prices were up again at midday, building on the strong gains of the previous couple of days. With grocery stores set to begin promoting beef, demand is expected to soon show improvement seasonally. April ended 43 cents higher at $84.65 and June was 60 cents higher at $83.05.

Lean hog futures were strongly higher on Wednesday. The market was supported by the higher trend in the cash market, strength in pork cutouts on Tuesday and the rally in the stock market. Packers are expected to ramp up Saturday slaughter schedules, which should be supportive for the cash market near-term. April closed $1.48 higher at $62.33 and June was 98 cents higher at $72.75.