Corn futures settled higher on Wednesday after a choppy trading session. The larger than expected acreage estimate from USDA yesterday and currently favorable crop conditions weighed on the market at times today. But prices turned higher on spillover support from soybeans, strength in crude oil and some forecasts calling for a return to warmer and drier weather next week in the Midwest. September ended 2 cents higher at $3.56 1/2 and December was 2 cents higher at $3.69 1/4.

We have an advice change for soybean producers using the futures and options advice. We are advising adding to new-crop forward sales. Sales currently stand at 20%. Price another 10% of expected 2009 production at $10.00 or better, basis November futures. As we prepare this advice, November futures are trading substantially over that target. On Tuesday, USDA released fundamentally bearish updates on soybean acreage and stocks. USDA also reported bearish data for corn. Soybean prices plunged on the news, but have since rallied by 75 cents from those lows. With the crop rated above average and no major signs of a shift to poorer weather, plus a bearish seasonal for soybean prices, we recommend increasing new-crop price protection.

Soybean futures were strongly higher on Wednesday. Tight old-crop stocks, firm crude oil prices and weakness in the dollar were supportive factors today. New-crop months were pulled higher as well as some weather forecasts are calling for a hot and dry weather pattern to develop next week. Soybean meal was also supportive to the soy complex as export demand remains strong. August ended 41 1/4 cents higher at $11.60 1/2 and November was 34 1/2 cents higher at $10.15 1/2.

Wheat futures ended lower on Wednesday. Harvest pressure kept the market on the defensive as weather conditions are conducive to harvest in most areas, although some rain is in the forecast for the weekend for the Plains and Midwest. Traders are already beginning to gear up for the extended holiday weekend. On a positive note, Egypt made a small purchase of U.S. wheat. CBOT Sep was 5 1/4 cents lower at $5.35 1/2, KCBT Sep ended 6 1/2 cents lower at $5.73 1/2 and MGE Sep was 1/4 of a cent lower at $6.33 1/2.

Cattle futures closed higher on Wednesday. The firm trade came in light volume as many traders are already evening up positions ahead of the extended holiday weekend. Cash markets this week are expected to be steady to up $1 from the $82 last week. Supplies of market ready cattle are expected to tighten in the upcoming weeks. However, boxed beef prices continue to decline with choice cutouts down 85 cents at midday. August was 50 cents higher at $85.75 and October ended 60 cents higher at $90.78.

Lean hog futures ended higher on Wednesday. Lower cash prices and the $1.72 drop in pork cutouts on Tuesday limited front end gains. However, deferreds turned higher on short-covering from recent losses and from what were technically oversold conditions. August closed 5 cents higher at $60.70 while October was 88 cents higher at $56.93.