Profits continue to increase for both cattle and hog producers. Cattle feeders recorded average profits of $247 per head last week, up slightly from the previous week, according to the Sterling Beef Profit Tracker. The margins represent a $363 per head improvement over the average losses of $116 recorded last year at this time, according to estimates developed by John Nalivka, president of Sterling Marketing, Vale, Ore.
Beef cutout values increased $1 per cwt. last week, but beef packer margins declined $9.35 to $67 per head. A month ago packers were losing $81 on every animal processed, and losses totaled $19 per head at the same time last year.
Farrow-to-finish hog margins increased $18.90 per head to more than $103 per head, the highest pork profit margins in the Sterling Pork Profit Tracker database. Negotiated cash hog prices rallied $11 per cwt. to $125.25 per cwt. Pork packer margins were estimated at $3.66 per head.
The spike in both cattle feeding and farrow-to-finish profits is due to significantly higher cash prices and lower overall feed prices. Cash prices for fed cattle are more than $27 per cwt. higher than last year, and negotiated hog prices are nearly $51 per cwt. higher than last year.