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Live cattle futures traded 95 cents to $1.15 lower on Monday. October closed at $122.125 after losing $10.62 last week. The USDA reported improved pasture and range conditions this week, at 44% good to excellent (last week: 43%; 2014: 50%). The CME Feeder Cattle Index for 10/2 was down $5.13 to $182.76. It is still more than $4 above futures. Cash cattle trade was inactive on Monday, but averaged $116.72 live last week, and $187.58 dressed (around a 30% decline since the week ending 1/11). The USDA reported lower wholesale beef prices in its Monday afternoon report. Choice boxes were off $1.80 to $203.97. Select boxes fell by $2.31 to $199.05, the first time under $200 since January 3, 2014. Wide retail margins for beef continue to encourage substitution of pork and poultry. Beef will have a narrow window of opportunity in October before ham and turkey come to the forefront for Thanksgiving. Limited turkey supplies might help. Estimated FI slaughter on Monday was 106,000 head, down 3,000 head from last week, and 9,000 head smaller than 2014.