Corn futures posted strong gains on Tuesday. After trading in a narrow range near unchanged this morning, prices rallied into the close. Fundamental news was limited although dryness in Argentina is a supportive factor. The rally was mostly attributed to short-covering as traders closed out positions early ahead of the Christmas holiday. March closed 13 cents higher at $3.94 3/4 and July was 12 3/4 cents higher at $4.15 1/4.

Soybean futures were solidly higher on Tuesday. Bearish Census Bureau crush numbers this morning initially weighed on the market, but futures rallied amid the strength in corn, strong export demand and weather concerns in much of Argentina and southern Brazil. The November crush of 144.6 million bushels was about 2 million below trade expectations and was down 5.5 million from last month. January ended 14 1/2 cents higher at $9.01 and March was 14 1/2 cents higher at $9.05.

Wheat futures settled higher on Tuesday. Spillover strength from corn and soybeans pushed prices higher despite bearish export news this morning. Weak exports pressured prices much of the day. Egypt bypassed U.S. wheat supplies in the latest tender, taking Russian wheat instead. Light strength in the dollar is also a negative factor for U.S. wheat exports. CBOT March was 6 1/4 cents higher at $5.75 1/4, KCBT March ended 6 1/4 cents higher at $5.95 1/2 and MGE March was 1 1/4 cents higher at $6.34 1/4.

Cattle futures closed higher on Tuesday. Trading volume was light ahead of the Christmas holiday. But rising beef prices and expectations for steady to firm cash trade helped support the market. Choice cutouts were up $2.38 on Monday and gained another 10 cents as of midday. February ended 70 cents higher at $86.65 and April was 68 cents higher at $89.50.

Lean hog futures ended higher on Tuesday. Futures were lower at times due to weakness in the cash market and the 82 cent drop in pork cutouts on Monday. However, position evening ahead of the Christmas holiday helped push futures higher ahead of the close. February closed 30 cents higher at $61.20 and April was 13 cents higher at $68.83.