Corn futures were lower Thursday pressured by less than expected weekly export sales and renewed bird flu concerns. Without a bullish catalyst or a round of fund buying the market was content to work lower allowing weather premium to erode. May futures closed 3 1/4 cents lower at $2.19 1/4. December was 2 1/2 cents lower at $2.51 1/4.

Soybean futures ended lower on Thursday after a mixed trading session. Weekly export sales were below expectations and crush came in below last month. In addition, bird flu concerns were raised as a duck in Mexico was reported to have died from avian flu, although this rumor has been unconfirmed. May closed 2 1/4 cents lower at $5.74 3/4 and November was 2 1/4 cents lower at $6.03.

Wheat futures settled lower on Thursday. Lackluster export demand, another round of light snow in the Plains, and forecasts for chances of precipitation early next week contributed to the selling pressure. CBOT May was down 5 1/4 cents at $3.44. KCBT May fell 9 1/2 cents to close at $4.07 1/2 and MGE May was down 9 1/2 cents at $3.95 1/2.

Cattle futures closed mostly higher on Thursday. Steady cash trade yesterday in the south and lighter than expected red meat supplies in the cold storage report offered some support. However, the lack of strength in boxed beef prices despite slaughter being down 8% this week limited gains. April cattle were up 30 points at $83.27. June gained 2 points to close at $77.55.

Lean hog futures posted solid gains on Thursday due almost entirely to technical factors. Short-covering and profit taking supported prices following the big declines earlier in the week. The fundamentals of the hog market were unchanged and cash hog prices continue to slide. April was $1.03 higher at $58.23 and June ended $1.60 higher at $67.15.