Fed cattle prices have improved over the last couple weeks, and as the market develops this week, the trend looks to continue. After slow sales through the first half of the week, USDA reports steer prices today averaging $86.97per hundredweight on a live basis and $133.96 in dressed markets. Heifers averaged $86.88 live and $134.83 dressed. The report lists about 76,000 head sold today on a live basis and 29,000 dressed.

Wholesale beef prices lost a little ground today after making significant gains in recent days. The Choice cutout averaged $141.16 per hundredweight, down $0.63 from yesterday, while the Select cutout dropped $0.41 to $136.

Cattle futures also traded lower on Thursday, with the October contract closing at $84.65, December at $86.28 and February at $87.08. 

The USDA’s National Daily Cattle and Beef Summary provides further detail on today’s activity.