Cash cattle prices were only slightly higher during July, but beef’s economic indicators in Drovers’ monthly analysis show improvement. That’s because feedyard margins improved due to lower grain prices and a steer-corn ratio that jumped from 20.52 in June to 27.36 in July. Sterling Marketing president John Nalivka says improving feedyard margins in July reflect lower prices paid for feeder cattle when the cattle were placed on feed. Packers continue to struggle with negative margins due to soft consumer beef demand, a fact that will continue to plague the industry through the end of summer. Declining beef supplies are expected as feedyard inventories are significantly lower. Such market fundamentals typically suggest a price rally ahead, but demand will continue to be the limiting factor.