Corn futures closed sharply lower on Thursday. Spillover weakness from wheat and forecasts for some improvement in planting weather in the western Corn Belt next week weighed on futures. In addition, weekly export sales reported this morning at 17.4 million bushels of old and new-crop corn were below trade expectations. The market fell sharply despite supportive outside markets as the dollar was lower again today. May ended 29 1/4 cents lower at $7.23 and December was 29 3/4 cents lower at $6.37 1/2.   


Soybean futures turned strongly lower on Thursday. Futures traded mixed this morning, but were pulled sharply lower. Heavy fund selling pressured prices on spillover weakness in corn and wheat. Losses in corn were triggered by forecasts calling for some improvement in planting conditions in the Midwest. However, there is still concern about planting delays for corn and the possibility of more soybean acres. May closed 27 3/4 cents lower at $13.50 1/4 and November was 30 3/4 cents lower at $13.37 3/4.


Wheat futures traded sharply lower on Thursday. The market was pressured by beneficial rainfall this week in HRW wheat belt, which triggered heavy fund selling that extended the losses. Rain in the Plains this week could benefit the condition of the HRW crop. In addition, cooler and rain are expected in some of the key wheat growing regions of Germany, France and England. CBOT May closed 34 cents lower at $7.43, KCBT May was 42 1/4 cents lower at $8.70 1/4 and MGE May ended 30 3/4 cents lower at $9.16 3/4.    


Cattle futures closed lower on Thursday. Weakness in boxed beef prices and concern about sluggish beef demand pressured the market. Boxed beef prices were lower on Wednesday and again at midday. There is talk that high gas prices could slow domestic beef demand. Cash trade was lower this week as well. Further losses are being limited by weakness in the dollar, which is a supportive factor for beef exports. June ended 38 cents lower at $113.18 and August was 30 cents lower at $115.80.


Lean hog futures are lower at midday. The strong decline in pork prices on Wednesday and reports of steady to lower cash trade today weighed on the futures market. Pork cutouts were down $2.38 yesterday. This is typically a time of year of seasonal strength in pork prices, but there is concern that high pork prices are hurting demand. Further losses were limited by weakness in the dollar, which is a supportive factor for pork exports. June ended 20 cents lower at $96.50 and August was 5 cents lower at $97.80.