Corn futures are called steady to 1 cent lower. Overnight trade was 1 to 1 1/2 cents lower. Drier weather this week has allowed some fieldwork. Some rain is forecast for the weekend and early next week in the Midwest, but then a drier and warmer stretch of weather is expected for much of the Corn Belt. Strength in the dollar will also be a bearish factor. However, gains in soybeans should help limit losses and could pull prices higher today.



Soybean futures are called 9 to 10 cents higher. Overnight trade was 9 cents higher in most active months. Futures are expected to extend the rally today as soybean stocks remain tight while export demand continues to be strong. In addition, production estimates for Argentina continue to shrink, which indicate reduced exportable supplies. Pre-weekend profiting on the strong rally so far in April could develop today and limit gains.



Wheat futures are called steady to 2 cents higher. Overnight CBOT trade was 1 1/4 to 2 1/2 cents higher and the KCBT was steady to 1/4 of a cent lower. Strength in soybeans and additional reports of freeze damage in southern Plains wheat will be supportive. However, gains will be limited by rainfall moving through that area that will help improve crop conditions and the recovery from freeze damage. Gains will also be limited by sluggish export demand and strength in the dollar overnight that will make U.S. wheat even less competitive on the world export market.



Cattle futures are called steady to mixed. Rising beef prices and firm cash trade have helped push futures higher this week. Choice boxed beef prices gained another $1.39 on Thursday and cash trade has been firm although significant trade has not developed in the southern Plains. But choppy futures trade is expected on positioning ahead of the Cattle on Feed report due out this afternoon.



Lean hog futures are called steady to higher. Strength in the cash market and pork cutouts this week will provide support. Cash prices were up over $1 yesterday as packers have upped Saturday slaughter plans. Pork cutouts were 65 cents higher on Thursday and seasonal improvement in demand should help push pork higher. Profit-taking ahead of the weekend could limit gains in the futures market today.