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Soybeans Futures Prices Continue Drive Higher.

Closing Grain and Livestock Futures Prices

Mar. corn closed at $4.43, down 1/4 cent
Mar. soybeans closed at $13.25 and 3/4, up 9 and 1/2 cents
Mar. soybean meal closed at $446.00, up $4.00
Mar. soybean oil closed at 38.66, up 43 points
Mar. wheat closed at $5.80 and 3/4, down 6 and 3/4 cents
Feb. live cattle closed at $139.55, down 15 cents
Feb. lean hogs closed at $86.50, up 5 cents
Mar. crude oil closed at $97.84, up 46 cents
Mar. cotton closed at 86.31, up 79 points
Feb. Class III milk closed at $23.21, up 13 cents
Mar. gold closed at $1,257.40, up 40 cents
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 15,628.53, up 188.30 points

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Market News ReCap

Soybeans were higher on commercial and fund buying. Weekly export numbers were strong, USDA will probably increase their estimate next week, and there are concerns about weather in key growing areas of South America. There’s been more talk of cancellations by China, but nothing outright as of yet. In the weekly report, what was canceled was switched to other buyers. Soybean meal and oil were higher on spillover from beans.

Corn was mostly firm on commercial buying and spillover from beans. China did cancel on 220,000 tons of old crop U.S. corn, but the weekly numbers were bullish overall and domestic demand continues to look solid. Corn’s also watching weather around South America and getting ready for next week’s USDA supply and demand numbers. Ethanol futures were higher.

The wheat complex was mostly lower with Chicago and Kansas City taking profits, and Minneapolis finding support from slow Canadian shipments, which also buoyed oats. Weekly export sales were good, but it was another slow week for shipments and the world supply is large with the trade expecting another big global crop. However, there’s a chance for winter kill in the U.S. Plains and Black Sea region. Japan bought 153,700 tons of U.S. food wheat, along with 99,600 tons from Canada and 31,000 tons from Australia. Oman picked up 20,000 tons of Indian milling wheat.

Cattle country was quiet on Thursday afternoon with significant trade volume postponed until sometime on Friday. DTN says their guess is that feedlot managers would turn active sellers given bids near steady with last week, 145.00 in the South, and 232.00 plus in the North. Needless to say, the bids so far have been significantly below those levels. About 1,000 cattle were sold in Iowa at 141.00 live and 225.00 to 226.00 dressed.

The cattle kill was estimated at 111,000 head, 6,000 below last week, and 3,000 smaller than last year. The reduced kill is partially tied to a fire at Cargill’s plant at Schuyler, Nebraska.

Boxed beef cutout values were significantly lower with light demand and light to moderate offerings. Choice beef was down 3.13 at 213.61 and select was 4.32 lower at 212.31.

Chicago Mercantile Exchange live cattle contracts settled 15 points higher to 15 lower. Cattle futures bounced higher and lower through the session. The lack of support in the boxed beef markets has not seemed to create additional concern in the nearby contracts, but there was growing uncertainty about just how discounted the cash market will be by the end of the week. February settle .15 lower at 139.55, and April was down .02 at 139.07.

Feeder cattle were mostly 7 to 30 points higher. There was pressure in the deferred contracts through the end of 2014 and early 2015, where there are questions about future calf crop sizes and long term beef demand. March was up .07 at 167.00, and April was up .15 at 167.80.

Feeder cattle receipts at the Huss Platte Valley Auction in Nebraska totaled 2300 head. Compared to last week, steers and heifers sold steady to 3.00 lower. Demand was good from the buyers in attendance on a bitterly cold day Wednesday. 300 head of feeder steers averaging 814 pounds brought 164.96 per hundredweight. 270 heifers weighing 718 pounds averaged 161.78.

Lean hog contracts settled 75 higher to 80 points lower. A lack of renewed buyer support stepped into the market at midday and allowed prices to retract early gains. This lack of strength in the lean market follows the general trend of weaker moves across the entire livestock market. Pressure in pork values also creates concerns on the demand side of the complex. February hogs settled .05 higher at 86.50, and April was down .80 at 94.20.

Barrows and gilts in the Iowa/Minnesota direct trade closed .11 higher at 82.66 weighted average on a carcass basis, the West was down .29 at 82.09, and the East closed at 79.62 without a price comparison. Missouri direct base carcass meat price was steady to 1.00 higher from 76.00 to 77.00.

Iowa barrows and gilts last week averaged 281.6 pounds, 1.3 pounds lighter than the prior week though still 6.5 pounds larger than 2013. The cold winter is working to check pork tonnage.

Pork carcass value was down .58 at 90.85 FOB plant with all primals except loins and bellies lower.

Thursday’s hog kill was estimated at 423,000 head, 46,000 more than last week, and 1,000 greater than last year.

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