The September Cattle on Feed report came in just slightly more negative than the trade estimates. The report showed the number of cattle on feed down 1.2 percent. The trade estimate was for a decline of 1.5 percent. Placements on feed during August were up 2.4 percent. The trade estimate was for a 0.9 percent increase. Fed marketings during August were down 3.9 percent. The trade estimate was for a 4.7 percent decline.

The futures market showed a modest decline in the price of most live cattle contracts on Monday following the report. Individual contracts showed one contract up $0.075 but the remainder of the contracts ranged from the same as Friday's close to $0.575 per cwt lower.

The weights of cattle placed on feed during August were mixed. The number placed weighing less than 600 pounds was up 16.4 percent, the number weighing 600-699 pounds was down 3.7 percent, the number placed weighing 700-799 pounds was down 9.0 percent, and the number placed weighing 800-pounds-and-up was up 7.6 percent from a year earlier.

Fed cattle marketings are expected to continue to run below a year earlier, and fed cattle prices are expected to be steady to a small increase during the fall.

Cow slaughter for the year through the week ending September 5 was up one percent from a year earlier. However, dairy cow slaughter amounted to all of the gain, plus some, and was up 14.6 percent. Beef cow slaughter was down 8.5 percent for this period compared to last year.

We expect both the dairy cow inventory and beef inventory will be down January 1, 2010, from 2009. Our current estimate is for the dairy cow herd to be down 2-3 percent and the beef cow herd to be down 1-2 percent from a year earlier on January 1.

The live feed cattle price for the week through Thursday for the five-market area at $83.51 per cwt was down $0.04 per cwt from a week earlier. The weighted average negotiated carcass price for the five-market area through Thursday at $129.53 per cwt was down $0.13 per cwt from seven days earlier.

Beef prices Friday morning showed the wholesale price of Choice beef at $139.09 per cwt, down $1.09 per cwt from a week earlier. Select beef at $132.59 per cwt was down $1.01 per cwt from Friday morning seven days earlier.

Feeder steer and heifer prices this week at Oklahoma City were $1-3 per cwt lower than a week earlier. Steer and heifer calves were $3-7 per cwt lower than seven days earlier.

The prices for medium- and large-frame Number One steers this week at Oklahoma City by weight group were: 400-500 pounds $101-123 per cwt, 500-600 pounds $96-108.25 per cwt, 600-700-pound calves $90-95.25 per cwt, 600-700-pound yearlings $96.50-106.75 per cwt, 700-800 pounds $96-102.50 per cwt and 800-1,000 pounds $87-96.60 per cwt.

Slaughter this week under Federal Inspection was estimated at 649 thousand head, down 1.3 percent from a year earlier.