Sales were confirmed on 377,100 head in the five major trade areas for the week ending May 12, compared to 317,200 last week and 351,300 head last year, according to the USDA Market News Service, Oklahoma City, OK.

Slaughter cattle traded steady to $1 lower. As summer months continue at a $3 to $4 discount to the current market, speculators expect cash to decline to meet the futures.

On the other hand, in the long run, this should keep feedlots current, as feeders will continue to market cattle early to beat the decline. Feedlots remain mostly current, with some carryover into next week. Many June hedges are being lifted as feeders take advantage of the large spread between cash and futures.

USDA's boxed beef cut out values averaged $119.75 per cwt. May 11, but held steady as demand remains good for beef. The Choice-Select spread continues to break records and now is at $14.70 per cwt difference.

Slaughter cows were steady to $2 lower. Slaughter bulls were steady to $3 lower. USDA's Cutter cow carcass cut out value closed at $84.38 per cwt., down $1.52 for the week.

Midwest direct markets: Steers, Select and Choice, 2 and 3, 1100 to 1350 lbs., 71.00 to 73.00. Heifers, Select and Choice, 2 and 3, 1050 to 1300 lbs., 71.00 to 73.00. Dressed basis, steers and heifers, Select and Choice, 2 and 3, 1100 to 1350 lbs., 114.00 to 116.00.

High Plains direct markets: Steers, Select and Choice, 2 and 3, 1100 to 1350 lbs., 72.00, few, late, 71.00. Heifers, Select and Choice, 2 and 3, 1000 to 1250 lbs., 72.00, few, late, 71.00.

Idaho, Washington, Oregon and Montana: Steers and heifers, dressed basis, Select and Choice, 2 to 3, 112.50 to 114.00.

Slaughter cows and bulls: Breakers, 75 to 80% lean, 1000 to 1600 lbs., Colorado, 41.50 to 44.00; Oklahoma, 38.00 to 41.00; Alabama, 37.50 to 41.00. Boners, 80 to 85% lean, 900 to 1500 lbs., Colorado, 41.50 to 44.00; Oklahoma, 38.00 to 41.00; Alabama, 40.00 to 43.00. Lean, 85 to 90%, 850 to 1300 lbs., Colorado, 36.00 to 39.00; Oklahoma, 37.00 to 39.50; Alabama, 36.00 to 39.00. Bulls, 88 to 92% lean, 1500 to 2200 lbs., Colorado, 50.50 to 54.00; Oklahoma, 49.00 to 52.50; Alabama, 52.75 to 56.00.

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