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By Cassie Fish,

Key cattle and beef fundamentals are in slow mode as the September calendar comes to a close. Boxed beef values are still slow and sloppy, not unusual for the of Q3. Yesterday the choice cutout made a new low for the move, dropping below $300 for the first time since May.

And in the south cattle feeders decided to trade at steady money on a Tuesday rather than holding out for more Thursday or Friday. The north has been reluctant to trade so far though a few cattle did sell in western Nebraska at $184. Packers appear to be interested in keeping inventory around them, perhaps with the thought avoiding being short-bought might assist them in lessening the negative impact of anticipated higher cattle costs this fall. Packers bought 87k head last week, the largest in many weeks and will have access to October contracts next week.

CME cattle futures have continued yesterday’s downside correction today, though October LC is managing to hold on to a tiny gain. Feeder cattle futures have had a huge break this second half of September, now down $13.90 in most active November feeders. September, October and November all appear poised to post a lower monthly close on Friday after making a contract high—unless a big recovery gets started soon. Feeder cattle futures have posted a $80/cwt rally since January 2023 using a continuation chart, which is almost identical to the 2014 feeder futures rally. This year’s high took out the 2014 high by $12/cwt.

There will be end of the month and end of quarter evening up in futures Friday.

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