Corn futures ended higher on Friday. The market was supported today by strong weekly export sales and forecasts for a much smaller corn crop in Argentina. The Buenos Aires Grain Exchange expects the corn crop to be down 33%-40% compared to last year due to drought. Gains were limited by forecasts for some rain in Argentina that helped push soybean futures lower. March closed 3 cents higher at $3.90 1/2 and May was 3 cents higher at $4.01 1/2.



Soybean futures settled lower on Friday after a volatile trading session. The market rallied this morning on strong weekly export sales and declining soybean crop projections for Argentina. The Buenos Aires Grains Exchange estimated production to be down 17%-25%. But forecasts for rain late this weekend and early next week in Argentina triggered profit-taking ahead of the weekend. March ended 3 cents lower at $10.09 and May was 3 1/4 cents lower at $10.16 1/4.



Wheat futures posted strong gains on Friday. Short-covering and better than expected weekly export sales supported wheat futures despite soybeans turning lower. Dry weather in the Plains continues to be a concern as soil moisture levels are low ahead of the crop breaking dormancy. CBOT March was 16 cents higher at $5.82 3/4, KCBT March closed 14 cents higher at $6.12 and MGE March was 9 1/4 cents higher at $6.60 3/4.



Cattle futures closed mixed on Friday. Short-covering and the rally in crude oil helped support front end contracts. Deferred months were mixed as traders evened positions ahead of the Cattle on Feed report that was released after the close. February ended 40 cents higher at $82.68 and April was 40 cents higher at $85.80. The report is being viewed as bullish as USDA estimated cattle on feed down 7% from last year versus trade expectations of a 6% decline. December placements were down 3% compared to trade estimate of unchanged and December marketings were up 2% while the market was expecting 1% decline.



Lean hog futures were strongly lower on Friday with the April and June contracts setting new lows. Concerns about the weak economy, the bearish Cold Storage report on Thursday afternoon and technical selling pressured futures. USDA reported total frozen pork stocks up 20% from last year and record large for this date. April ended $1 lower at $64.40 and June was $1.38 lower at $75.75.