The national cattle summary for the week ending May 5 reported receipts of 317,200 head, compared with 361,900 head last week and 327,500 head last year, according to the USDA Market News Service, Oklahoma City, OK.

Sales were confirmed from Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado, Nebraska, Iowa and southern Minnesota.

Slaughter cattle were fully $1 lower. Demand was fairly light, as packers hunt better grading yearling placements which are difficult to find. Packers are relying on captive cattle and pulling these well ahead for the month and using more of these in lieu of open market supply.

Cattle to be carried over to next week was fairly substantial and more than has been the norm. Some of these, but not all, need more days on feed to produce decent slaughter figures. Boxed beef values have been dropping, but packer margins remain good. USDA's boxed beef cut out values averaged $119.70 per cwt. May 4 and were down $2.23 from April 28. The Choice-Select spread continues to increase and is now $13.35 per cwt. Calf to fed slaughter is in full swing and the spread will most likely remain wide through June.

Midwest direct markets: Steers, Select and Choice, 2 to 3, 1100 to 1350 lbs., 72.00 to 74.00. Heifers, Select and Choice, 2 to 3, 1050 to 1300 lbs., 72.00 to 74.00. Dressed basis, steers and heifers, Select and Choice, 2 to 3, 1100 to 1350 lbs., 114.00 to 117.00.

High Plains direct markets: Steers, Select and Choice, 2 to 3, 1100 to 1350 lbs., 73.00, few, late, 72.00. Heifers, Select and Choice, 2 to 3, 1000 to 1250 lbs., 73.00, few, late, 72.00.

Idaho, Washington, Oregon and Montana: Steers and heifers, dressed basis, Select and Choice, 2 to 3, 115.00 to 117.00.

Slaughter cows were $1 to $2 lower. Slaughter bulls were uneven. USDA's Cutter cow carcass cut out value continues to slip and finished the week at $85.90, down $1.82 per cwt.

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