Cattle prices drop slightly this week

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 USDA reports cattle trade on Thursday with finished steers and heifers averaging just under $113 per hundredweight, down about a dollar from last-week’s prices. On a dressed basis, fed cattle averaged about $180 per hundredweight, down about $3 from last week’s average, according to the USDA’s 5 Area Daily Weighted Average Direct Slaughter Cattle report.

Beef prices meanwhile, have been mixed but generally steady with a week ago. The Choice cutout on Thursday averaged $187.79 per hundredweight while Select averaged $180.99. The Choice cutout was up $1.19 per hundredweight from a week ago while the Select cutout was down $2.15 from a week ago, resulting in a widening of the Choice-Select spread to $6.80.

Cattle slaughter for the week, estimated at 510,000 head as of Thursday, was steady with a week ago but down 7,000 head from the same period last year.

CME live-cattle futures closed higher Thursday, with the August contract up $0.60 at $113.85, October up $0.17 at $114.10 and December cattle up $0.30 at $116.45.

Feeder cattle futures also moved higher Thursday, with August closing at $122.67, September at $131.62 and October at $132.20.

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