Market Recap: USDA Reports Scuttle Grains & Oilseeds

U.S. lean-hog futures finished lower Friday, weighed down by weaker wholesale pork prices. February lean hogs dropped 52 to 86.45, April hogs, the most-actively traded contract, fell 4 to 86.12.

U.S. live-cattle futures settled sharply lower Friday, pressured by softer wholesale beef prices and sluggish cash-cattle trading. February live-cattle slid 11 to $126, April cattle, the most actively traded contract, dropped 14 to $130

At the livestock auction held Thursday at Smithfield a total of 535 cattle and no goats were sold. Slaughter cows trended mixed, feeder steers trended $6.00 to $10.00 higher, and heifers trended mixed when compared to the sale last week. Average dressing slaughter cows brought $68.00 to $83.00. Average dressing slaughter bulls, 1000 lbs. & up, sold at $82.50 to $93.50 with high dressing up to $101.00.

U.S. soybean futures settled sharply lower Friday on technical selling and profit-taking, after a government crop report provided few surprises. In its monthly world supply-and-demand report on Friday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture raised its forecast for global stockpiles of soybeans at the end of the current crop year by 1.1%, more than analysts had expected, to 60.1 million metric tons. That caused soybean futures to begin to decline.

Losses then gathered steam when speculative traders began selling futures to exit earlier bets on higher prices. Corn futures fell after the USDA's corn stocks forecasts were higher than expected. Wheat futures ended mixed. The USDA's world stocks forecast was higher than expected for wheat, but its domestic stocks forecast was lower than expected.

March soybean fell 34 1/4 to $14.52, March corn fell 1 3/4 to $7.09, March wheat in Chicago gained 1/4 to $7.56, and March wheat in KC fell 1 ¼ to $7.99

No. 2 yellow shelled corn trended 1 to 2 cents lower when compared to last report. Prices ranged $7.29-$7.84 at feed mills and $7.24-7.89 at elevators. No. 1 yellow soybeans trended 34 cents lower and were $14.62 at processors, and $13.92-$14.39 at elevators. No. 2 red winter wheat had no trend available. Soybean meal, f.o.b. at processing plants, was $467.40 per ton for 48% protein.

The N.C. egg market is steady on small and medium, lower on the balance. Supplies are heavy. Retail demand is light. Weighted average prices for small lot sales of Grade A eggs delivered to nearby retail outlets: Extra Large 149.48, Large 148.70, Medium 110.08 and Small 86.00.

Cotton futures rose Friday after USDA forecast an increase in demand for the fiber from China, the world's largest cotton importer and consumer. USDA raised its forecast for China's cotton imports by 12% to 14 million bales in the 2012-13 season, ending July 31. March cotton gained 13 to 82.67, the May contract gained 10 to 83.30.

Gold slipped on Friday, locking in a loss for the week, as some improving economic data and an upcoming holiday in major consumer China pushed traders to cash out ahead of the weekend. April gold fell $4.40 to $1,666.90, March fell a fraction to $31.40

U.S. crude-oil futures settled slightly lower Friday on renewed concerns about a glut of crude oil in the Midwest. March crude oil fell 11 cents to $95.72 a barrel, March gasoline gained 5.89 cents to $3.05 a gallon, and March distillates gained 3.89 cents to $3.23 a gallon.

Natural-gas futures ended lower Friday, under pressure from strong supplies and an expected break in winter weather-driven demand. March-delivery gas futures on the New York Mercantile Exchange settled 1.3 cents lower at $3.27.

On Wall Street, stocks climbed Friday pushing the S&P to a fresh five-year high and putting the Nasdaq within a hair of a 12-year intraday high following a batch of encouraging domestic and international economic reports. The Dow gained 48 to finish the week at 13,992, the Nasdaq closed at 3,193, up 28 and the S&P 500 gained 8 to 1,517. 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.