June cattle traded at the highest level since March 29th yesterday before closing moderately lower for the session and down near the lows of the day. Ideas that wholesale buying ahead of the Memorial Day holiday is now complete and that beef prices could ease was thought to have pressured the market after trading as much as 87 higher on the day early in the session. The USDA report on Friday showed lower than expected placements and higher than expected marketings during the month of April, which are expected to add to the potential decline for third quarter beef production. The USDA has projected third quarter beef production to be down 60 million pounds from the second quarter. Production typically increases 100 to 200 million pounds during that period, and it was up 178 million pounds in 2011. This year's third quarter decline will be the first since 1996 and only the second of the past 22 years. Cash traded $3-$4 higher late Friday, up to $123-$124. Slaughter came in at 126,000 head, which was slightly higher than expected and may reflect marginally better demand from packers for live inventory. This was down from 127,000 head last week and down from 131,000 head a year ago as this time. Boxed beef cutout values were up $1.89 at mid-session yesterday and closed $2.08 higher at $194.59. This was up from $191.03 the prior week and is the highest beef market since March 8th.