October cattle traded to the highest price levels since August 17th early in the session before closing slightly higher on the day for October cattle and sharply higher on the day for December cattle. Outside market factors were positive early yesterday but weakness in corn and other grain markets, as well as rising demand concerns were thought to have pressured the market. A continued surge in beef prices was seen as a positive development, and may help to improve packer margins back into profitability. Many traders expected higher beef prices after packers were forced to pay-up for cash cattle last week, but there is widespread concern that consumer resistance will emerge due to a steep uptrend for beef prices recently. Expectations that cash cattle can trade steady this week and higher into October helped support the nearby futures on the rally yesterday. The estimated cattle slaughter came in at 131,000 head yesterday. This brings the total for the week so far to 263,000 head, up from 129,000 head last week at this time and up from 259,000 head a year ago. Boxed beef cutout values were up $1.92 at mid-session yesterday and closed $2.34 higher at $184.17. This was up from $180.68 the prior week and is the highest beef market since August 30th.