Strong profits continue for both beef and pork producers. Cattle feeders recorded average profits of $242 per head last week, slightly lower than the previous week, according to the Sterling Beef Profit Tracker. The margins represent a $347 per head improvement over the average losses of $105 recorded last year at this time, according to estimates developed by John Nalivka, president of Sterling Marketing, Vale, Ore.
Beef cutout values declined $3 per cwt. last week, and beef packer margins declined $29 per head to $37 per head. A month ago packers were losing $80 on every animal processed, and losses totaled $39 per head at the same time last year.
Farrow-to-finish hog margins increased $13.05 per head to more than $116 per head, the highest profit margins in the Sterling Pork Profit Tracker database. Negotiated cash hog prices rallied $4.48 per cwt. to $129.73 per cwt. Pork packers were estimated to lose $2.50 for every animal processed.
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.