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Market Recap: Hog Futures Gain in Anticipation of Spring Grilling Season

U.S. hog futures rose modestly Thursday, supported by expectations that consumer demand for pork will rise as the spring grilling season nears. April hogs added 22 to 80.87, the June contract rose 45 to 89.80

U.S. live-cattle futures settled modestly lower Thursday as market watchers awaited signs of agreement between meatpackers and cattle owners on the value of cattle in cash markets, which could serve as a benchmark for near-term beef demand. April live-cattle futures fell 5 to $128, June live-cattle futures dropped 3 to $123.

At the 2 livestock auctions held Wednesday at Norwood and North Wilkesboro a total of 1095 cattle and 3 goats were sold. Slaughter cows trended $0.50 lower, feeder steers trended mixed, and heifers trended mostly $1.00 to $7.00 lower when compared to the previous week. Average dressing slaughter cows brought $71.50 to $88.00. Average dressing slaughter bulls, 1000 lbs. & up, sold at $94.50 to $103.00 with high dressing up to $112.00.

U.S. wheat futures jumped Thursday, boosted by a strong export-sales report and confidence that prices may have bottomed out. Corn futures rose, lifted by the rise in wheat. Corn also benefited from a better-than-expected export sales report. Soybean futures fell on expectations that large South American crops this year will present a strong alternative to U.S. supplies.

May wheat in Chicago gained 14 3/4 to $7.24, a three-week contract closing high, May wheat in KC rose 15 to $7.52, May corn futures rose 6 1/4 to $7.16, and May soybean futures fell 11 1/2 to $14.35.

Greens: Demand moderate. Various containers bunched/loose Collard, Kale, Mustard, and Turnip Tops supplies insufficient and in too few hands to establish a market.

Sweet potatoes: Demand moderate. Market is about steady. 40 lb cartons Orange Types U.S. No. 1 13.00-15.00 few higher and lower. U.S. No. 1 Petite 10.00-12.00 few higher and lower. U.S. No. 2 7.00-9.00, mostly 8.00-9.00, few higher and lower. No Grade Marks jumbo 6.00-8.00, mostly 6.00-7.00, occasionally higher and lower.

No. 2 yellow shelled corn trended 6 to 26 cents higher when compared to last report. Prices ranged $7.36-$8.06 at feed mills and $7.42-8.12 at elevators. No. 1 yellow soybeans trended 12 to 18 cents lower and were $14.65 at processors, and $13.96-$14.31 at elevators. No. 2 red winter wheat was 15 cents higher and was mostly $7.05 at the elevators. Soybean meal, f.o.b. at processing plants, was $470.00 per ton for 48% protein.

An increase in demand for U.S. cotton sent benchmark futures for the fiber to their highest point since late April. Cotton for delivery in May rose 2.3 to 90.86, and December new crop gained 103 to 88.54.

Gold futures carved out a modest gain Thursday as the dollar retreated against other currencies, bolstering the appeal of dollar-denominated gold to foreign buyers. April gold rose $2.70 to $1,590.70, and May silver closed at $28.80, down 3.3 cents

U.S. crude futures settled higher Thursday as investors cheered a reading on the U.S. labor market that pointed to further improvements in the broader economy. April crude gained 51 cents to $93.03 a barrel, April gasoline fell a fraction to $3.14 a gallon, and April distillates gained a fraction to $2.92 a gallon.

Natural-gas futures prices jumped to settle at a 16-week high Thursday after government data showed inventories dropped by more than expected last week. April Natural-gas futures gained 13.2 cents to $3.81.

On Wall Street, the Dow rose for a 10th straight day and the S&P 500 advanced to just shy of an all-time closing high on Thursday in a global equity rally spurred by data that pointed to a stronger U.S. labor market and a steadily improving American economy. The Dow gained 83 to 14,539, the Nasdaq closed at 3,258, up 13, and the S&P 500 gained 8 to 1,563. 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.