Corn futures are trading slightly lower at midsession. Disappointing weekly export sales and forecasts for a big 2005 crop are bearish factors. Rain in the Corn Belt will slow some planting progress, but forecasts do not indicate any prolonged problems. May is 3/4 of a cent lower at $2.10.



Soybean futures are higher at midday. Funds have returned to the market as buyers this morning. Some support was also attributed to Statistics Canada's canola planting intentions being down 8% from last year. May is 3 1/4 cents higher at $6.34.



Wheat futures are trading lower at midday. Funds have actively covered short positions this week, but have been quiet so far today. Buying interest is being limited by favorable winter wheat crop ratings and some forecasts for beneficial rainfall. CBOT May is 1 cent lower at $3.09 3/4, KCBT May is 1/4 lower at $3.26 and MGE May is 1 1/4 lower at $3.25 3/4.



Cattle futures are higher this morning. Cash trade in the Plains at $94 is supportive as it is up $2 from last week. Beef demand has been strong, with choice beef prices moving to a 5-week high on Wednesday. April is 25 cents higher at $75.30 and June is 20 higher at $85.73.



Lean hog futures are lower at midsession. Pork cutouts were $1.03 lower on Wednesday and packer margins are poor. Cash bids are mostly steady so far this morning, but futures continue to hold a strong premium to cash. May is 25 cents lower at $75.30 and June is 33 lower at $78.05.