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Market Recap: Hogs Climb to 5 1/2 Month High

U.S. lean-hog futures climbed to a 5 ½-month high Thursday, supported by the recent uptick in cash markets and expectations for tighter near-term supplies. February lean-hog futures added 5 to 87.60, April futures rose 70 to 89.95

U.S. live-cattle futures finished narrowly lower, after weaker wholesale beef prices at midday re-ignited concern about sluggish domestic beef demand. February live-cattle shed 37 to $127, April cattle, the most actively traded contract, slid 12 to $132.

At the 2 livestock auctions held Wednesday at Norwood and North Wilkesboro a total of 869 cattle and 2 goats were sold. Slaughter cows trended steady to $.50 higher, feeder steers trended mixed, and heifers trended mixed when compared to the previous week. Average dressing slaughter cows brought $71.50 to $84.00. Average dressing slaughter bulls, 1000 lbs. & up, sold at $90.50 to $98.50 with high dressing up to $110.00.

U.S. soybean futures fell on Thursday, pressured by a wetter forecast for crops in Argentina. Wheat futures ended lower after a day of volatile trading, pressured by profit-taking and concerns about tepid export demand. Wheat had followed corn and soybeans upward to reach a one-week high on Wednesday, prompting some traders to sell futures after the rise. Corn futures ended mixed, with nearby futures benefiting from technical buying after holding above chart-based support levels.

March soybeans fell 10 1/4 o $14.68, March wheat in Chicago fell 7 1/2 to $7.79, March wheat in KC fell 3 to $8.37, and March corn rose 1/4 nearly flat, to $7.40.

Greens: Demand moderate. Market about steady. Various containers bunched/loose Collard, Kale, Mustard, and Turnip Tops 6.50-7.00 occasionally higher.

Sweet potatoes: Demand moderate. Market 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 lower, occasionally higher. No Grade Marks jumbo 6.00-8.00, mostly 6.00 to 7.00, few lower, occasionally higher.

No. 2 yellow shelled corn trended steady to 1 cent higher when compared to last report. Prices ranged $7.60-$8.16 at feed mills and $7.65-8.20 at elevators. No. 1 yellow soybeans trended steady to 10 cents lower and were $14.78 at processors, and $13.89-$14.54 at elevators. No. 2 red winter wheat had no trend available. Soybean meal, f.o.b. at processing plants, was $471.40 per ton for 48% protein.

Cotton took a breather Thursday morning as some investors skimmed profits after futures settled at a more-than seven-month high last session. March and May cotton both fell a penny to 82.95, and 83.15 respectively.

Gold futures fell on Thursday as investors cashed out on the chance that Friday's U.S. unemployment data would paint a picture of an improving labor market. April gold fell $19.60 to $1,662, and March silver closed at $31.35, down 82 cents.

U.S. crude-oil futures pulled back from a four-month high Thursday as oil traders' recent optimism about economic growth faded ahead of today's monthly jobs data. March crude fell 45 cents to $97.49 a barrel, February gasoline dropped 1.29 cents lower at $3.02 a gallon, and February distillates gained 1.25 cents to $3.12 a gallon.

Natural-gas futures ended little changed Thursday after shedding early sharp losses that followed news showing a less-than-expected drop in inventories. March natural-gas gained a fraction to $3.33.

On Wall Street, stocks edged lower for a second day on caution ahead of today’s all-important jobs report, but the S&P still posted its best monthly gain since October 2011. The Dow fell 49 to 13,860, the Nasdaq closed at 3,142, down a fraction and the S&P 500 fell 3 to 1,498. 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.