Market Recap: USDA Reports Push Corn & Wheat Higher

U.S. lean-hog futures settled steady or slightly higher after the USDA grains report eased some traders' worries about higher-than-expected pork production throughout the year. February hogs shed 4 to 84.20, the April contract edged up 2 to 87.12

U.S. live-cattle futures finished lower Friday, pressured by sluggish beef demand and a government report projecting tighter grain supplies. February live-cattle fell 95 to $130, April Live cattle shed 52 to $134.

At the livestock auction held Thursday at Smithfield a total of 912 cattle and no goats were sold. Slaughter cows trended mixed, feeder steers trended $3.00 to $40.00 higher, and heifers trended $9.00 to $29.00 higher when compared to the sale last week. Average dressing slaughter cows brought $65.00 to $77.00. Average dressing slaughter bulls, 1000 lbs. & up, sold at $80.00 to $93.00 with high dressing up to $105.00.

Corn and wheat futures prices jumped Friday after U.S. forecasters projected tighter-than-expected domestic supplies of the grains this year. The U.S. Department of Agriculture said farmers last year harvested slightly more corn than it previously expected amid the nation's worst drought in decades. However, the government said livestock and poultry producers are consuming corn at a higher rate than it had anticipated, which will result in historically tight supplies later this year. Meanwhile, the USDA on Friday said farmers planted more winter wheat for the new crop year than for the 2012 crop year, although not as much as analysts anticipated.

March corn futures gained 10 to $7.08, March soybeans fell 6 1/2 to $13.73, March wheat in Chicago gained 14 to $7.58, and March wheat in KC gained 10 ½ to $8.07.

The N.C. egg market is steady on all sizes. Supplies are moderate. Retail demand is moderate. Weighted average prices for small lot sales of Grade A eggs delivered to nearby retail outlets: Extra Large 135.94, Large 135.16, Medium 111.64 and Small 102.00.

No. 2 yellow shelled corn trended 10 cents higher when compared to last report. Prices ranged $7.28-$7.79 at feed mills and $7.19-7.68 at elevators. No. 1 yellow soybeans trended 6 cents lower and were $13.73 at processors, and $12.90-$13.62 at elevators. No. 2 red winter wheat had no trend available. Soybean meal, f.o.b. at processing plants, was $454.30 per ton for 48% protein.

Cotton futures whipsawed after the USDA released its latest supply/demand report, but ended higher on the day. March cotton gained 59 to 75.79, and the May contract gained 36 to 76.40.

Gold notched its first weekly rise since mid-November, but not without a battle. February gold fell $20.90 cents to $1,657.10, yet ended the week with a net gain, and February silver fell 52 cents to $30.39.

U.S. crude-oil futures pulled back from a three-month high on Friday after Chinese inflation data raised concerns about fuel demand in the world's largest energy consumer. February crude fell 26 cents to $93.56 a barrel, February gasoline dropped 5.38 cents to $2.73 a gallon, and February distillates lost 4.58 cents to $3.00 a gallon.

Natural-gas futures rose Thursday after weekly data showed a big slump in U.S. gas inventories that signaled rising demand. February Natural gas gained 8 cents to $3.19.

On Wall Street, stocks ended little changed on Friday as investors took a stop back from buying ahead of this week’s busy corporate earnings calendar. The Dow gained 17 to 13,488, the Nasdaq closed at 3,125, up 3 and the S&P 500 fell a fraction to end the week at 1,472. 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.