Ag markets proved generally firm again Thursday

The crop markets showed exhibited varying strength Thursday. The U.N. Food &; Agriculture Organization (FAO) reduced its prediction for 2014 small grain carryout approximately 2 percent Wednesday night, which probably supported the crop markets. When combined with talk that the storm system now moving across the Great Plains will bring strong winds with it, thereby posing a danger to drying corn stalks, traders viewed the news as supportive of corn prices. December corn futures closed up 0.25 cent at $4.3925 Thursday, while May added 0.5 cent to $4.6025/bushel.

The soy complex built upon Wednesday night gains. Although the FAO's small grains report didn't apply to soybeans, it also seemed to encourage bulls in the legume market. Talk of the Corn Belt storm may also have sparked buying, since it could cause significant delays in the soybean harvest. Wire service reports also indicated bullish bargain hunting. November soybeans jumped 14.5 cents to $12.8825/bushel late in Thursday's session, while December soyoil leapt 0.89 cents to 40.27 cents/pound, and December soymeal ran up $3.6 to $415.3/ton.

The ongoing wheat rally persisted Thursday. The FAO's forecast of a lower global small grains carryout next year very likely encouraged fresh wheat buying today. That seems especially apt in the current environment, where so many interests are apparently seeing vigorous export demand boost golden grain prices. December CBOT wheat gained 3.25 cents to $6.8925 bushel at their Thursday settlement, while December KCBT wheat edged 1.0 cent higher to $7.555, and December MGE futures rose 3.5 cents to $7.5025.

Cattle futures turned mixed late in Thursday's CME session. The lack of USDA information continues hampering the livestock markets, with many traders apparently opting to stand aside at this time. Pessimism about this week's cash outlook reportedly weighed upon CME prices in earlier trading, but news of firm Southern Plains prices gave the Chicago market a temporary boost. Conversely, flat Nebraska quotes undercut prices at the close. December cattle futures settled 0.05 cents lower at 131.77 cents/pound Thursday, while April sank 0.12 cents to 134.80. Meanwhile, November feeder cattle slid 0.57 cents to 165.62 cents/pound, and January sagged 0.37 to 165.40.

Hog futures moved mostly higher today. Again, the lack of USDA news is very likely limiting activity in the hog pit. Talk of steady-weak prices at the various country markets probably supported CME prices, since the nearby contracts have significant discounts built into them. We also suspect wholesale pork prices are holding up rather well at this time. December hog futures rallied 0.60 cents to 86.77 cents/pound in late Thursday morning action, while April lifted 0.45 cents to 89.65.