Corn futures snapped back Thursday with futures closing strongly higher. After yesterday's setback it appeared the corn market was set to drift sideways to lower. Instead, prices surged higher with spillover support from wheat helping to kick start the rally. December ended 10 1/2 cents higher at $2.64 1/4. March settled 9 3/4 cents higher at $2.77 1/2.



Soybean futures closed strongly higher on Thursday. Short-covering was triggered by spillover strength from wheat and corn as well as soybean oil, which was aided by rising crude oil prices. Technical buying extended gains as seasonal harvest pressure is not currently a concern. November was 10 1/4 cents higher at $5.52 3/4 and January was 10 1/4 cents higher at $5.66 3/4.



Wheat futures were sharply higher Thursday. Gains were attributed to declining production prospects for Australia. AWB Ltd. slashed its production estimate to the 12 million to 15 million metric ton range, down from a previous forecast of 18 to 20 million tons. Australia is the third largest wheat exporter behind the U.S. and Canada. CBOT Dec was 21 1/4 cents higher at $4.45 1/2. KCBT Dec climbed 16 1/2 cents to close at $4.95 1/2. MGE Dec was 13 1/4 cents higher at $4.72 3/4.



Cattle futures closed lower on Thursday. An early rally attempt failed to generate any follow-through to the upside, and futures ended lower. Month-end speculative long liquidation weighed on the market. Cash trade has not developed yet, but traders are expecting steady to firm trade with last week. October was down 32 points at $90.67. December was 25 points lower at $89.77. October feeder cattle fell 62 points to close at $113.22.



Lean hog futures closed firm on Thursday, but well off the day's highs. Some improvement in the cash market outlook helped to support futures prices along with a continuation of the profit taking that developed on Tuesday and Wednesday. October closed 40 cents higher at $62.55 and December closed with a 43 cent gain at $60.05.