The financial markets captured all the attention this week as the President signed a bill to increase the debt ceiling, the stock market crashed, and the unemployment rate stayed above 9%. Uneasiness about the economy is a real concern for the cattle industry as slow economic growth is a drag on meat demand.

USDA issued their annual estimate of farmland values this week. They said 2011 U.S. cropland prices are up 9.4% from last year while the average value of pasture land is up only 1.9%. This is not surprising given what $7 corn does to the profitability of crops and livestock.

Boxed beef prices were lower this week. Friday morning the choice boxed beef carcass cutout value was $173.06/cwt, down $1.75 from last week. The select carcass cutout was down $1.33 from the previous Friday to $169.54 per hundred pounds of carcass weight.