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Weather stokes grain, cattle trades

Jeff Caldwell 12/19/2011 @ 3:19pm Multimedia Editor for Agriculture.com and Successful Farming magazine.

Anxiety about hot, dry weather in South American corn and soybean country and worries about the opposite in the central U.S. Plains sent grain and livestock futures surging Monday.

March corn futures ended the day 18 cents higher at $6.01 per bushel, January soybeans ended 7 cents higher at $11.37 and March wheat closed Monday 16 cents higher at $5.99 3/4, according to Barchart.com. The strength in the grains is largely due to threatening weather for the South American corn and soybean crops, with hot and dry conditions prevailing at the crops' critical pollination time.

It's the opposite problem brewing that sent cattle futures limit-up Monday. A blizzard system is moving into the southern and central Plains, bringing as much as 18 inches of snow to that region and creating major stress for that region's cattle herd. That sent December and February live cattle futures up 2.5% each, with December hitting $1.2115/CWT and February to $1.215/CWT, according to a Dow Jones Newswires report.

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