The national slaughter cattle summary for the week ending Sept. 29 confirmed sales of 321,700 head in Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado, Nebraska and southern Minnesota, compared to 298,600 head last week and 380,300 head one year ago, according to the USDA Market News Service, Oklahoma City, OK.

Slaughter cattle trade in the South remained at the usual standstill this week, while cattle in the North traded $1 to $2 higher. Packers and feeders remained firm in their positions, leaving packers to rely on formula and contract cattle to keep the chain moving this week.

Boxed beef prices held stable, but the Choice-Select spread has widened to $10 per cwt. October cattle board is more than $3 over the cash trade and many feeders are thinking of holding cattle for deliveries to take advantage of that premium. USDA's boxed beef showed very little change, at $105.21 per cwt., down 9 cents for the week.

Midwest direct markets: Steers, Select and Choice, 2 and 3, 1100 to 1350 lbs., 64.00 to 66.50. Heifers, Select and Choice, 2 and 3, 1050 to 1300 lbs., 65.00 to 66.50. Dressed basis, steers and heifers, Select and Choice, 2 and 3, 1100 to 1350 lbs., 104.00 to 105.00.

High Plains direct markets: Steers, Select and Choice, 2 and 3, 1100 to 1350 lbs., not tested. Heifers, Select and Choice, 2 and 3, 1000 to 1250 lbs., not tested.

Idaho, Washington, Oregon and Montana: Steers and heifers, dressed basis, Select and Choice, 2 and 3, 103.00 to 104.00.

Slaughter cows and bulls: Slaughter cows were steady. Slaughter were bulls steady to $1 higher. USDA's Cutter cow carcass cut-out value closed the week down $1.65, at $77.48 per cwt.

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