Grains and soybeans started on a better note, if only because the prospect of a weekend, and of a key crop report next week, encouraged investors to cover some short positions.
Early weakness in the dollar, boosting the affordability of dollar-denominated exports, helped too.
"Uncertainty over grain supplies ahead of next week's important US Department of Agriculture Wasde report, given the recent deterioration in US seasonal conditions, may help prices attract support over the coming few sessions," Luke Mathews at Commonwealth Bank of Australia said.
The USDA on Thursday releases its next Wasde, a much-watched monthly briefing on crop supply and demand.
For wheat, which set contract closing lows in Chicago, Kansas and Minneapolis in the last session for December lots, Benson Quinn Commodities said that "there isn't much of a reason to buy the wheat market.
"But it could perform a little better on Friday, if traders are willing to cover some shorts."
And, indeed, wheat proved the best performing of Chicago's big three crops as of 09:10 UK time (03:10 Chicago time), rebounding 0.4% to $6.43 a bushel.
In Minneapolis, the December spring wheat contract added 0.5% to $7.15 a bushel, while in Kansas, the December hard red winter wheat lot recovered 0.4% to stand at $6.92 ¼ a bushel.
This despite the continuing reports of strong yields, if below-par protein, coming from the US spring wheat harvest, with the Canadian crop said by some to be good on yield and better on protein too.
"Some analysts are increasing the yield potential above the recent Statistics Canada numbers that were already estimating a record yield," CHS Hedging said.
The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization on Thursday raised the bar on world wheat crop prospects by upgrading its forecast for 2013-14 output to 710m tonnes, above USDA and International Grains Council estimates.
"The speculators will buy wheat to cover net short positions, buy wheat to cover short positions on inter-commodity spreads, but they don't show much interest in buying it to own it," Mr Henry said.
However, short-covering was encouraged by the proximity of the next Wasde report, and the uncertainty it brings, and by the grain being considered technically oversold, but also thanks to another Egyptian grain tender released last night, the fourth in 10 days or so.
While US wheat is not seen as likely to win at the tender, Egypt's move at least supported ideas of demand which are becoming an increasingly important market factor now the main northern crops are just about known.
Furthermore, some moisture expected in North America at the weekend will hamper harvest and, as always, bodes ill for quality on ripe crops.
"Harvest could be slowed throughout the northern US and Canadian prairies over the weekend due to rain," CHS Hedging said.
And there are still some concerns over the threat of dryness to Argentine and Australian wheat.
While forecasts suggest rains for New South Wales in another week, "we have little confidence in the seven-to-14 day rainfall outlook and therefore favour a further deterioration in north west New South Wales and Queensland crop conditions", Mr Mathews said.
'Hearing good corn yields'
It also helped that corn was in a slightly firmer mode, adding 0.2% to $4.62 a bushel, encouraged by short-covering at levels getting near the $4.50 a bushel which some investors, such as Richard Feltes at RJ O'Brien, have suggested looks fair value for now.
That said, the mood on the grain was hardly upbeat, with CHS Hedging noting some recovery in yield expectations, with "some private estimates coming in with an average corn yield 1-2 bushels per acre above the USDA August Wasde number of 154.4 bushels per acre".
This follows some encouraging early US harvest results, although combines have yet to roll in western Corn Belt and northern areas worst affected by dryness.
"We have been hearing good corn yields so far and that has probably been a major contributing factor to the market weakness," one broker said.
'Looking rather ambitious'
Weather now appears less of a factor for corn.
"Outside of an early frost, the window of opportunity for which adverse weather can hurt corn's production potential has all but closed in the mind of the trade," Benson Quinn Commodities said.
"Attention is quickly turning to the demand side of the equation," which is not so promising for the US, given cheap offers from the likes of Brazil and Ukraine.
"Given the current discounts being offered by global suppliers, the USDA's projection for US exports in 2013-14 is looking rather ambitious," the broker said.
Indeed, it was "unlikely" that US corn will feature in a tender by South Korea's NOFI feed group for 140,000 tonnes of corn, for February delivery.
More on US corn export prowess will be known later, with weekly sales data expected to come in at 450,000-650,000 tonnes for the grain.
For wheat, the figure is expected at 425,000-600,000 tonnes.
(As an illustration of the competition here, the European Union cleared 550,000 tonnes of wheat last week, taking the total in 2013-14 so far to 4.5m tonnes, compared with 2.1m tonnes at the same time last year.)
'Prices should hold'
For soybeans, US export sales are pegged at 550,000-800,000 tonnes.
For now, Chicago's November contract added 0.3% to $13.71 a bushel, amid continued uncertainty over how the US harvest will turn out.
"Rains were forecasted to occur over the next week in certain dry areas of the US Midwest but it remains to be seen if the forecasted rains are sufficient enough to prevent a reduction in soybean yields," Joyce Liu at Phillip Futures said.
CHS Hedging said: "Prices should hold until we see what the USDA has on next week's Wasde report."
Among soft commodities, raw sugar continued to gain, supported by Czarnikow's cut of 1.9m tonnes, to 2.0m tonnes, in its forecast for the world production surplus in 2013-14, and caution that supplies may not be as abundant as many investors have factored in.
New York's October contract added 0.9% to 16.65 cents a pound.
Cotton for December rebounded 0.03 cents to 82.33 cents a pound from a close to the last session which was the lowest in three months.
With the fibre a non-food commodity, for which demand is more linked to world economic welfare, "traders will be closely watching tonight's US non-farm payrolls data for further signs of improvement in the US economy", Mr Mathews said.