Corn futures closed mixed on Thursday. The front end contracts were pressured by weakness in crude oil. However, new-crop futures were firm on strong demand projections and ideas that supplies will remain tight despite increased acreage this spring. March ended 3/4 of a cent lower at $4.07 1/2 and December was 3 1/4 cents higher at $4.04 1/2.



Soybean futures moved higher on Thursday. The market opened higher on speculative buying based on good demand and the thought that Brazil's wet weather could induce more Asian rust and lower the quality of the beans in the field. After the March contract posted the highest level of a nearby contract since July 2004, gains were trimmed. March ended 8 1/4 cents higher at $7.58 3/4 while November was 7 3/4 cents higher at $8.10 1/2.



Wheat futures settled higher on Thursday. Futures tested chart support again today, but rebounded strongly from those levels. Spillover strength from soybeans and ideas that recent weakness in wheat prices has helped spur export demand were supportive factors. CBOT Mar was 2 1/4 cents higher at $4.53 1/4. KCBT Mar gained 9 cents to close at $4.86 1/4 while MGE Mar was 4 1/2 cents higher at $4.96 1/4.



Cattle futures closed lower on Thursday. Weakness was attributed to light profit-taking and the lack of cash market activity. Forecasts calling for improved weather in the Plains into next week contributed to the selling interest. However, losses were limited by sharply higher cutout values this week and expectations for higher cash cattle prices. February was down 10 points at $94.12 while April was 12 points higher at $96.40. March feeder cattle fell 35 points to close at $100.45.



Lean hog futures closed mixed but mostly lower on Thursday. Traders took some profits today amid concerns about the potential for increasing hog numbers next week. However, with the light weights being reported, there are few signs that hogs are backing up because of the weather. April ended 18 cents lower at $68.70 and June fell 80 cents to $77.78.