Corn futures were strongly higher on Thursday to reach the highest level in 10 years. Private production forecasts released Wednesday afternoon and Thursday morning suggest the corn crop will fall into the 10.7 billion to 10.8 billion bushel range, down from USDA's 10.9 billion bushel October forecast. December futures closed 11 1/4 cents higher at $3.43 3/4 and the March 07 contract was 12 1/4 cents higher at $3.59 1/4.



Soybean futures were a few cents higher on the close Thursday but closed well off the morning highs. Sharply higher corn futures provided strong spillover support but expectations for an upward revision in the size of the soybean crop next week took some of the steam out of the market. The November contract was up 3 1/4 cents $6.48 1/4 and January closed 3 cents higher at $6.61 1/4.



Wheat futures held onto small gains Thursday but finished on the low end of the daily trading range. Weekly wheat export sales climbed to 34.5 million bushels, the highest level of the crop year reflecting last week's sale of 400,000 metric tons to Iraq. Chicago December wheat was 4 cents higher at $4.91 1/2. KCBT December was 5 cents higher at $5.24 and MGE December wheat was up 4 cents at $5.03 1/2.



Cattle futures were lower on Thursday pressured by lower cash cattle and sharply higher corn prices. Feeder cattle futures spent much of the day down the 300 point limit as corn prices surged to the highest level in 10 years. Cash cattle traded actively at $89 to $89.50, down a dollar from last week. December cattle futures fell 80 points to close at $86.75 and the February contract was 57 points lower at $90.10.



Lean hog futures were higher after an extremely volatile trading session that saw prices swing from new lows for the week in early trading to new weekly highs around noon. Firm to higher cash markets and expectations for a continuation of the strong tone Friday provided fundamental support. December lean hog futures closed 20 points higher at $64.60 and the February contract was up 52 points at $67.80.