Corn futures surged higher on Thursday. Prices are racing higher as the market adds weather risk premium. There is concern that wet conditions will delay or prevent some planting, and then with a shift to La Nina, a drier than normal weather pattern will emerge this summer and hurt yields. March settled 8 1/4 cents higher at $4.34 1/2 while new-crop December was 4 3/4 cents higher at $4.27 3/4.



Soybean futures closed higher again on Thursday. The market rallied to new contract highs as soybeans chase the corn market higher. Speculative buying is driving the market as funds continue to put money into commodities. January Census crush was supportive at 156.9 million bushels, higher than the average trade expectation. March ended 2 1/2 cents higher at $7.83 3/4 and November was 5 3/4 cents higher at $8.37 3/4.



Wheat futures were higher on the close Thursday. Futures were able to rally to the highest level so far in 2007. The sharp rally in corn helped boost wheat prices. The wheat market has to defend against pricing tight old-crop wheat stocks into feed rations. CBOT Mar was 13 1/2 cents higher to close at $4.89 1/2. KCBT Mar was 9 3/4 cents higher at $5.11 1/2 while MGE Mar was up 7 1/4 cents at $5.16 1/2.



Cattle futures ended mixed on Thursday. Front end futures were steady to lower on the premium held to the most recent cash market and declining beef prices. Deferred contracts were supported by that the Cattle on Feed report will be supportive and rising corn prices. February was unchanged at $93.48 while April was 18 points lower at $96.23.



Lean hog futures closed mixed on Thursday with nearbys mostly higher, middle months lower, and deferred contracts posting modest gains. The key characteristic of trading was spreading, short covering and speculative buying in deferred months. Cash hog prices were mixed today with lower prices at most terminal markets and slightly higher prices in direct trade. April was 5 cents higher at $67.03 and June was 23 cents lower at $76.95.