Corn futures closed higher on Thursday. Futures traded mixed during the session, but were able to rally late in the session. Strong weekly export sales and the ability for the market to hold psychological support on the March contract just below $4 encouraged the late strength. March closed 6 1/4 cents higher at $4.07 and December was 1 1/2 cents higher at $3.99 1/4.

Soybean futures closed slightly lower on Thursday after a relatively quiet session. Weekly export sales remain strong and for the marketing year are 29% ahead of this time last year. Census crush for December was in line with expectations, but excess stocks of meal and oil was bearish for soy products. March closed 1 3/4 cents lower at $7.13 1/4 and November was 1 1/4 cents lower at $7.65 1/2.

Wheat futures were higher on Thursday. The market traded lower at midday, but was able to stage a solid recovery as corn moved higher. Weekly export sales were disappointing, dipping to only 9 million bushels, down from 30 million last week. Despite the disappointing sales this week, we believe that wheat demand is improving and will provide the market support. CBOT Mar gained 2 3/4 cents to close at $4.68 3/4. KCBT Mar was 7 1/4 cents higher at $4.94 while MGE Mar was up 2 cents at $4.97.

Cattle futures closed higher on Thursday. The market held onto small gains today, but a mid morning rally failed to attract buying enthusiasm. Forecasts for much colder weather late next week and a strong rally in hog futures the last couple of days provided support. Noon forecasts delaying the arrival of cold weather contributed to the setback from early highs. February was 27 points higher at $90.12. April was up 5 points at $92.97. March feeder cattle were 60 points higher at $94.30.

Lean hog futures continued to work higher on Thursday while cash prices were mixed. Hog futures appear to be being driven mostly by technical factors. Cash prices were generally steady while futures prices continue to work higher. February gained 53 cents and closed at $63.35. June hogs were 68 cents higher at $76.65.