Corn futures settled higher on Thursday, being pulled up by spillover support from soybeans. The market traded lower much of the day on improved planting weather this week. While rainfall and cooler temperatures are expected next week, the following week is being forecast to be warmer and drier again. Weekly export sales this morning were supportive as 40.5 million bushels were above pre-report trade expectations. May ended 1 1/4 cents higher at $3.85 3/4 and December gained 1 1/2 cents to $4.16 3/4.

Soybean futures ended higher on Thursday, with old-crop contracts leading the rally and posting six month highs. Weekly export sales reported this morning showed continued strong demand from China. Soybean production forecasts for Argentina are on the decline with the Buenos Aires Grain Exchange pegging the crop at 37 million tonnes, down from 39.4 million previously. May closed 23 1/2 cents higher at $10.58 1/2 and November was 3 cents higher at $9.43.



Wheat futures closed higher on Thursday. Short-covering and spillover support from the rally in soybeans helped pull wheat prices higher today. However, futures were initially under some pressure by Egypt bypassing U.S. supplies in a recent export tender. In addition, rainfall in the central and southern Plains should help improved HRW wheat condition ratings. CBOT May ended 9 1/2 cents higher at $5.24 3/4, KCBT May was 10 cents higher at $5.70 and MGE May closed 7 cents higher at $6.34 1/4.



Cattle futures closed higher on Thursday. The April and June contracts hit nine-week highs amid rising beef prices and optimism for firm cash trade this week. Boxed beef prices have rallied sharply this week, with Choice cutouts at its highest level since January. Cash trade in the southern Plains is expected to be around $88 this week compared to $86 last week. Gains in the deferred months were trimmed late in the session. April ended $1.13 higher at $88.55 and June was 35 cents higher at $85.13.



Lean hog futures were higher on Thursday. Firm cash markets and pork cutout values pushed futures market higher. Packers are increasing slaughter schedules for Saturday, which has increased demand for hogs this week. Pork cutouts were up 60 cents on Wednesday and are now at the highest level since early December. May closed 48 cents higher at $71.88 and June was 23 cents higher at $73.28.