Corn futures ended higher on Thursday. The export picture continues to improve and that is helping support the price rally along with continued buying from the fund sector. Weekly export sales totaled 47.1 million bushels. March settled 1 1/2 cents higher at $2.23 1/2. May futures closed 2 cents higher at $2.34 1/4.

Soybean futures closed higher on Thursday after a choppy session. The market opened lower on bearish fundamentals and technical selling. However, funds came in at the lower prices and pushed the market back up. March ended 4 1/2 cents higher at $5.91 1/2 and May was 5 1/4 cents higher at $6.04 1/4.

Wheat futures were higher on Thursday. Concerns that cold weather spilling into the Plains could cause winterkill attracted some buying interest. Weekly export sales reported this morning were supportive at 17.8 million bushels. CBOT Mar was 7 cents higher at $3.59. KCBT Mar climbed 9 cents to close at $4.25 1/2. MGE Mar was up 7 1/2 cents at 4.08 3/4.

Cattle futures closed mixed on Thursday. Futures were under pressure as the cash market standoff persists. It has been about two weeks since cattle traded actively in the southern Plains so the pressure is building on both sides to move some cattle. April ended down 5 points at $88.60 while June was 7 points higher at $83.47. March feeder cattle were up 10 points at $108.35.

Lean hog futures closed higher on Thursday, but most contracts spent at least part of the day in negative territory. The $2.30 jump in cutouts was welcomed by packers. However, we will need to see further gains in the cutout to allow for a significant rally in cash and futures. April ended up 15 cents at $61.63 and June was 40 cents higher at $69.30.