Market Recap: Wheat Continues to Climb on Great Plains Weather Woes

U.S. lean-hog futures rallied Wednesday on rising wholesale pork prices and expectations that hog supplies are starting to thin. December hog futures gained 145 to 83.82. That marked the highest closing value for the front-month contract in three-and-a-half months, since prices fell off on massive hog liquidation due to the summer's severe drought. February hogs also jumped, adding 85 to 87.57.

U.S. live-cattle futures closed lower Wednesday, pressured by declines in wholesale beef prices and sluggish outside markets. Feeder cattle all closed lower. December live-cattle closed down 55 to $127, January feeders dropped 85 to $146.

At the weekly livestock auction held Tuesday at Mount Airy a total of 723 cattle and 55 goats were sold. Slaughter cows trended mixed, feeder steers trended $2.00 to $3.00 higher, and heifers trended $4.50 to $8.00 higher when compared to the last sale two weeks ago.

U.S. wheat futures rose Wednesday, boosted by concerns about drought in the Great Plains and other threats to world wheat crops. Corn futures barely moved. Traders hesitated to push prices higher after a rally in recent days–driven largely by rising wheat futures–pushed December corn to a one-month closing high on Tuesday. Soybean futures fell slightly, pressured by light profit taking after recent gains. Improved South American crop weather also contributed to the fall. December wheat in Chicago gained 3 to $8.76, December wheat in KC rose 2 1/2 to $9.18, December corn were nearly flat, rising only 1/4 to $7.60, and January soybeans fell 3 to $14.46.

No. 2 yellow shelled corn trended steady when compared to last report. Prices ranged $7.50-$8.34 at feed mills and $7.45-7.90 at elevators. No. 1 yellow soybeans trended 3 cents lower and were $14.26 at processors, and $13.71-$14.01 at elevators. No. 2 red winter wheat had no trend available. Soybean meal, f.o.b. at processing plants, was $494.90 per ton for 48% protein.

ICE cotton futures ended at a one-week high ahead of the closely watched US export sales report., Another week of high sales on the heels of last week's posted sales — the highest amount since early August — are expected to give prices a boost. But also on the radar are US exports of corn and soybeans, says Citi's Sterling Smith, since farmers will soon start to consider what to plant next spring, and high demand could convince them to ditch cotton. March cotton gained 11 to 71.23, and the May contract gained 17 to 73.45.

A barrage of sell orders sent gold prices plunging early Wednesday, sending prices down to their lowest in more than a week. December Gold fell $25.80 to $1,716.50, and December silver closed at $33.68, down 29.7 cents

Crude oil futures fell for a third straight day Wednesday, but recovered from steep losses amid an afternoon rally in U.S. equities prices. January crude oil futures fell 69 cents to $86.49 a barrel, December gasoline gained a fraction to $2.73 a gallon, and December distillates gained 3.06 cents to $3.04 a gallon.

Natural-gas futures fell Wednesday to the lowest level in two weeks as investors braced for milder U.S. temperatures and weaker demand for gas-fired heating. December Natural gas fell 7.3 cents to $3.69.

On Wall Street, stocks rose in volatile trade after comments from the top Republican in Congress on a possible compromise to avoid the ‘fiscal cliff’ turned the market on it’s head. The Dow gained 106 to close at 12,985, the Nasdaq closed at 2,991, up 24, and the S&P 500 gained 11 to 1,409. 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.