Corn futures closed strongly higher on Friday. The market was able to gains back almost all of the big losses posted on Thursday. Short-covering and the lack of deliveries against the May contract were supportive factors. Weather conditions and forecasts will influence trade next week. The current outlook is for drier conditions in the northwestern U.S., which should help boost planting progress there. However, the southern and eastern Corn Belt is expected to remain wet over the next week to ten days. July ended 27 1/4 higher at $7.56 1/2 and December was 32 cents higher at $6.69 1/2.


Soybean futures were sharply higher at the close on Friday. Short-covering and further weakness in the dollar helped futures rebound from the strong losses posted on Thursday. Soybean seeding is just getting underway, but corn planting delays could affect soybean acreage. Drier weather in the western Corn Belt will allow for some planting progress. However, more wet weather is expected in the southern and eastern Corn Belt, which will further delay corn planting progress. July is 40 1/2 cents higher at $13.94 and November was 36 1/2 cents higher at $13.74 1/4.


Wheat futures traded solidly higher on Friday. Fund buying and further weakness in the dollar helped push prices higher following strong losses earlier this week. Despite some beneficial rain in the Plains this week, there remains concern about the irreversible damage to wheat yield prospects in Texas, Oklahoma and western Kansas. CBOT July closed 23 3/4 cents higher at $8.01 1/4, KCBT July was 22 cents higher at $9.05 and MGE July ended 24 1/4 cents higher at $9.48.


Cattle futures closed mixed on Friday. The June contract was supported by the discount to the cash market and on short-covering from recent losses. But deferreds were mixed with some pressure from concern about beef demand. Boxed beef prices have turned lower this week and at midday Friday, choice cutouts were down $1.26. Cash trade developed early in the week at $2-$3 lower. June ended 18 cents higher at $133.35 while August was 10 cents lower at $115.70.


Lean hog futures traded strongly lower on Friday. Weakness in the cash market and lower pork prices this week weighed on the market. The June contract slipped to the lowest level in six weeks. Pork prices were down 68 cents on Thursday after falling $2.38 on Wednesday. Cash trade was generally steady to $1 lower today as most packers had needs covered for the week. June ended $1.28 lower at $95.23 and August was 58 cents lower at $97.23.