Beef strength apparently boosted cattle futures. The cattle industry is clearly expecting a sizeable seasonal price drop during late spring and summer. However, cash and wholesale quotes have persistently refused to end their traditional March-April price rally; sizeable midday beef gains helped pull the Chicago market higher as well. June cattle futures jumped 1.15 cents to 153.37 cents/pound at Thursday’s settlement, while August cattle rallied 0.65 to 149.82 cents/pound. Meanwhile, May feeder cattle futures vaulted 0.80 cents to 217.45 cents/pound, and August feeders ran up 0.62 to 218.55.

Bird flu news may have undercut CME hogs. The USDA announced this morning that a fourth Minnesota farm and one in South Dakota had been found to be infected with highly pathogenic ‘bird flu.’ While this doesn’t directly affect the hog industry, the potential for more foreign embargoes and increased domestic broiler supplies dampened hopes for renewed pork demand. June hog futures ended Thursday (and the week) having tumbled 0.55 cents to 75.70 cents/pound, while December sagged 0.27 to 66.70.

Thursday’s soy action seems confused. Competing influences apparently affected the soy complex today. For example, the Export Sales report stated very low old-crop bean sales last week, but old-crop meal and new crop bean and meal totals were rather impressive. Moreover, the USDA’s daily reporting system indicated a 118,000 tonne sale to an unknown destination; the fact that it was for 2015/16 probably reduced its impact. Ultimately, talk of incipient Argentine production appeared to weigh on beans and meal, while active lifting of crush spreads apparently boosted oil prices. May soybean futures slumped 3.75 cents to $9.86/bushel as Thursday’s CBOT session ended, while May soyoil rebounded 0.35 cents 31.04 cents/pound, and May meal dropped $4.6 to $327.3/ton.

Corn followed wheat higher Thursday; markets are closed Friday. Corn futures fluctuated little overnight, but followed wheat modestly higher today. The weekly USDA Export Sales report had little impact. Traders may also have thought Tuesday’s post-report breakdown was overdone and/or short-covering before the long weekend. May corn futures closed 4.75 cents to $3.865/bushel Thursday, while December added 2.75 to $4.095.

The wheat markets bumped up against chart resistance. Thursday’s wheat export sales data were not impressive, but seemingly did little to discourage bulls. Talk of persistent southern Plains dryness reportedly powered the morning rise, but bullish interests proved unable to penetrate major chart resistance at moderately higher levels, thereby seeming to trigger the late setback. May CBOT wheat climbed 7.75 cents to $5.3625/bushel in late Thursday action, while May KC wheat vaulted 10.75 cents to $5.8275/bushel, and May MWE wheat moved up 5.0 to $5.955.

Bird flu news may have undercut CME hogs. The USDA announced this morning that a fourth Minnesota farm and one in South Dakota had been found to be infected with highly pathogenic ‘bird flu.’ While this doesn’t directly affect the hog industry, the potential for more foreign embargoes and increased domestic broiler supplies dampened hopes for renewed pork demand. June hog futures ended Thursday (and the week) having tumbled 0.55 cents to 75.70 cents/pound, while December sagged 0.27 to 66.70.