Corn traders are reportedly encouraged by demand strength. The grain and soy markets have risen modestly today, with wheat leading the way on concerns about dryness in the southern Plains. Corn and soy are probably enjoying spillover support, but wire service sources also cited talk of demand strength for firmness in those markets. The surging dollar apparently did little damage. May corn futures rose 3.0 cents to $3.91/bushel late Wednesday morning, while December added 2.5 to $4.1475.

The soy complex set back from Tuesday night highs. Little fresh news concerning the soybean and product markets emerged overnight, although Asian palm strength rather clearly gave the soyoil market a boost. Having the U.S. dollar surge to a fresh 12-year high may be taking a toll on prices today, especially with nearby crude oil prices turning lower. May soybean futures advanced 4.0 cents to $9.885/bushel as the lunch hour loomed Wednesday, while May soyoil lifted 0.06 cents to 31.02 cents/pound, and May meal inched $1.4 higher to $332.4/ton.

Talk of southern Plains dryness is apparently boosting the wheat markets. Ideas that winter wheat in the U.S. southern Plains is starting to grow in relatively dry conditions seemed to boost the Chicago and KC markets overnight. The fact that Minneapolis lagged largely confirmed the industry’s focus on the winter wheat situation. Traders didn’t seem to react to talk that Russia had exported much more wheat this winter than previously thought. May CBOT wheat surged 5.5 cents to $4.9875/bushel in late Wednesday morning action, while May KC wheat gained 4.0 cents to $5.40/bushel, and May MWE wheat edged up 3.25 to $5.68.

Cattle traders may be looking for seasonal strength. General concern about the cattle and beef outlook has apparently depressed CME cattle futures lately. However, the simple fact that cattle and beef supplies typically reach annual lows during the March/April period seems to be encouraging short-term optimism. April cattle futures jumped 1.02 cents to 155.77 cents/pound just before lunchtime Wednesday, while August cattle rallied 0.47 cents to 144.55 cents/pound. Meanwhile, April feeder cattle futures soared 2.52 cents to 213.02 cents/pound, and August feeders vaulted 2.07 to 211.12.

Short-term pessimism continues weighing on CME hogs. In contrast to the bullishness now seen in nearby cattle futures, hog traders are clearly less hopeful about short-term hog and pork prospects. The downtrend seems likely to continue until consistently supportive spot market news begins emerging. April hog futures tumbled 0.75 cents to 65.22 cents/pound around midsession Wednesday, while June hogs dove 1.35 to 77.32.