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Soybean Futures Prices Higher for the Day

Wednesday's Closing Grain and Livestock Futures
May corn closed at $4.84 and 1/2, down 2 cents
May soybeans closed at $14.40, up 12 cents
May soybean meal closed at $469.10, up $5.40
May soybean oil closed at 40.73, down 1 point
May wheat closed at $6.96 and 3/4, down 11 and 1/2 cents
Apr. live cattle closed at $145.80, up $1.42
Apr. lean hogs closed at $122.47, up 82 cents
May crude oil closed at $100.26, up $1.07
May cotton closed at 91.66, down 245 points
Apr. Class III milk closed at $23.51, down 32 cents
Apr. gold closed at $1,303.40, down $8.00
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 16,268.99, down 98.89 points

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Market News Update:

Soybeans were higher on commercial and technical buying. Beans started weak, but came back quickly. The near term supply remains tight and demand continues to look strong. There’s no real fresh news, so the trade’s continuing to square up ahead of next week’s reports and watching ports for any signs of Brazilian beans hitting U.S. shores. Soybean meal was higher and bean oil was steady to weak on the adjustment of product spreads.

Corn was lower on fund and technical selling, along with spillover from wheat. Demand’s solid, but there’s just a lot of corn available. Corn’s also getting ready for next week’s USDA numbers, while keeping an eye on the export market and early planting progress. According to the Hightower Report, ethanol production for the week ending March 21 was 6.195 million barrels. Ethanol futures were lower.

The wheat complex was lower on fund and technical selling. Some rain has fallen in the Southern Plains and there’s precipitation in the forecast for the Black Sea region. Wheat’s also watching for any new political developments between Ukraine and Russia. According to Russia’s Ag Ministry, the addition of Crimea should add about 2 million tons of grain production this year.

Activity in feedlot country remained limited on Wednesday with just a few scattered deals reported at 152.00 live and 244.00 to 246.00 dressed, steady to firm with Tuesday’s advance. The balance of the showlists are priced around 153.00 to 154.00 in the South and 246.00 plus in the North. The kill totaled around 118,000 head, 1,000 more than last week, but even with a year ago.

Boxed beef cutout values were firm on the choice and lower on select on light to moderate demand and offerings. Choice boxed beef was up .51 at 241.76, and select was 1.14 lower at 233.31.

Chicago Mercantile exchange live cattle contracts settled 35 to 142 higher. Aggressive buyer interest was seen in the live cattle futures. The early week movement of cattle in live markets put the emphasis back on short bought packers and created the assumption that beef demand will continue to grow and the recent gains will be quickly passed through the system. April settled 1.42 higher at 145.80, and June was up 1.20 at 137.62.

Feeder cattle ended the session 72 to 127 points higher as traders quickly jumped back into the April and May contracts. This helped to draw additional interest through the entire complex as feeder cattle traders were not only focused on outside grain market shifts, but also the support early in the week through the cash cattle trade. April feeders settled 1.27 higher at 178.62, and May was up 1.02 at 179.12.

Feeder cattle receipts at the Philip Livestock Auction, Philip, South Dakota totaled 3618 head on Tuesday. Compared to two weeks ago steers were mostly 4.00 to 6.00 higher, except those over 750 pounds traded steady. Heifers were mostly 5.00 to 8.00 higher, and steady on those over 700 pounds. 730 pound feeder steers averaged 190.26 per hundredweight. 736 pound heifers averaged 172.82.

Lean hogs ended the session 70 to 110 points higher with only October in the red. Traders continued to step back into the market following the push lower in prices over the last two trading sessions. Traders watched to see just how much volume trickled back into the market through the end of the session. That could set the tone for additional commercial and investor interest during the rest of the week. April settled .82 higher at 122.47 and June was up 1.10 at 126.30.

There was slow to moderate hog market activity with moderate demand on Wednesday. Barrows and gilts in the Iowa/Minnesota direct trade closed .40 higher at 126.97 weighted average on a carcass basis, the West was down .28 at 125.89, and the East was .62 higher at 123.72. Missouri direct base carcass meat price closed steady to 2.00 lower from 117.00 to 119.00. Terminal hogs on a live basis were steady with an instance of 1.00 lower from 80.00 to 88.00.

The pork carcass value was .52 higher FOB plant at 131.91.

The fact that lean hog futures locked limit-down in pit trading on Tuesday indicates that many speculators and commercials are nervous that the March 1 hog and pigs report due out Friday will not significantly “feed the fire” of PED destruction.

USDA estimated the Wednesday hog slaughter at 412,000 head, 4,000 less than last week and down 16,000 from last year.