Corn and wheat settle lower, soybeans mostly higher

Corn futures finished lower Wednesday. The corn market was down amid pressure from the outside markets and sharply lower wheat prices. Crude oil fell and the dollar was higher. Farmer selling is light, which is supportive to the cash market, but weekly ethanol production slowed to the lowest level since September. New-crop prices found underlying support by weather forecasts for next week calling for much cooler temperatures and the possibility of freezing temperatures as far south as the Ohio Valley. May settled 1 1/2 cents lower at $6.56 3/4 and December was 1 1/4 cents lower at $5.44 1/4.

Soybean futures settled mostly higher on Wednesday. Commodity markets were pressured throughout the day by negative reactions to the latest minutes from the Federal Reserve that were released on Tuesday afternoon. Soybean prices experienced selling during the session, but then rallied late on news that more analysts are expecting that USDA will lower its South American production forecasts next Tuesday. May futures closed 2 3/4 cents higher at $14.19 1/2 while November fell 3 1/4 cents at $13.75 1/4.

Wheat futures closed lower Wednesday. Much improved crop condition ratings compared to last year and more welcome rain in dry areas of the Plains kept pressure on futures. Some rain relief in dry areas of Europe added to the negative sentiment, although some European officials say winterkill is worse than expected. MGE futures are still getting some residual support from lower-than-expected planting intentions for spring wheat. CBOT May was 18 3/4 cents lower at $6.39 1/4; KCBT May was 20 1/2 cents lower at $6.69 1/2 and MGE May was 4 1/2 cents lower at $8.45 3/4.

Cattle futures were lower. June futures fell to a new 9 month low as demand concerns continue to mount. Beef prices were down sharply at midday with choice down $2.31 per cwt to $180.78, the lowest level since August. The decline in futures also carried over into the cash market. Light cash trade was reported at $121 in Texas, down $1 from Tuesday. June cattle futures were 92 cents lower at $115.12 and August was $1.15 lower at $117.87.

Lean hog futures closed mixed on Wednesday. Prices for most contracts were higher early in the session, but the weak and falling pork prices put pressure on futures near the end of the day. The April, May and July contracts closed lower while most other contracts had small gains. Cash hog prices were reported steady to higher on Wednesday. The April contract closed at $83.85, down 18 cents. June was up 35 cents finishing at $92.00.

Cotton futures ended sharply lower Wednesday. Outside markets, particularly the stronger dollar, pressured cotton today. The trade is looking for a very low export figure in tomorrow's report, which added to the negative sentiment. May was 332 points lower at 89.32 cents and December was 228 points lower at 88.26 cents.


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