Market Recap: Grains & Oilseeds Finish Year in Positive Terratory

Lean hog futures finished the year mostly higher as stabilizing fundamentals encouraged traders. February hog futures rose 32 to 84.30, April hog futures were essentially unchanged at 87.70.

U.S. live cattle futures finished mixed in trading Friday as cash markets began trading and traders finished period-end positioning. February live cattle fell 9 to $121, and January feeder cattle fell 52 to $146.

US wheat futures ended mixed as CBOT futures followed corn higher while MGEX retreated in late trading. March wheat in Chicago ended up 7 1/2 to $6.52 and March wheat in KC meanwhile gained 19 to $7.17.

US corn futures ended 2011 on a bullish note, rallying late to a 7-week high on continued support from hot, dry South American weather. March corn ended up 8 ½ at $6.46.

US soy futures ended higher, rallying on hot South American weather that is also driving corn higher. January soy closed up 11 at $11.98, March soy oil rose 9 to 52.42 and March soy meal added $2.30 to $313.10.

The best news to hit the cotton market today is this year is over as futures plunged 37% in 2011. Now, all eyes are on the 2012 crop. March cotton gained 17 to finish the week at $91.80, and the May contract gained 32 to close at $91.68.

Gold rose on Friday, and recorded its 11th consecutive annual gain as investors moved to the precious metal to shield their wealth from a stormy economy. February gold rose $24.10 to $1,566.80 an ounce, and Mar silver closed at $27.91, up 60 cents.

Oil futures settled lower Friday in the final trading session of the year as conflicting news from France and China gave divergent signals for global demand in 2012. February crude dropped 82 cents to $98.83 a barrel, January gasoline gained a fraction to $2.68 a gallon, and January heating oil rose 1.75 cents to $2.93 a gallon.

Natural gas futures fell below the $3 mark to settle at their lowest level in more than two years Friday, closing out one of the weakest years for the natural gas market in recent memory. February Natural gas dropped 3.8 cents to 2.98.

Natural disasters, debt debacles and global political upheaval sent the markets on one of the wildest rides in recent memory in 2011. However, besides a few frayed nerves, Wall Street is set to ring in the new year in much the same place it started this year. The Dow finished the year at 12,217, down 69, the Nasdaq fell 8 ½ to close at 2,605, and the S&P 500 dropped 5 to finish at 1,257. is dedicated to serving the agricultural industry in the Carolinas and Virginia with the latest ag news, exclusive regional weather station readings, and key crop market information. The website is a companion of the Southern Farm Network, provider of daily agricultural radio programming to the Carolinas since 1974. presents radio programs, interviews and news relevant to crop and livestock production and research throughout the mid-Atlantic agricultural community.