Cattle feeding margins increased nearly $8 per head higher last week to average $164. The slight increase in profitability was due to steady cash cattle prices and a decline in the average cost of gain, according to the Sterling Beef Profit Tracker.
Profit margins for pork producers held steady last week at $72.66 per head. Negotiated cash hog prices were reported at $1 per cwt. lower for the week, offset by declining feed costs. Both beef and pork margins are calculated by John Nalivka, president, Sterling Marketing, Vale, Ore.
Cattle feeders’ profits last week were $273 per head more than at the same time last year when $109 per head losses were recorded. Beef cutout values increased $3 per cwt. last week, and packer margins improved $42 per head, leaving packers with per head profits of $62. A month ago packers recorded profits of $17 on every animal processed, while profits totaled $85 per head at the same time last year.
Farrow-to-finish hog margins are roughly at the same place they were a month ago, though significantly better than last year’s $4.65 per head profits. The spike in both cattle feeding and farrow-to-finish profits this spring is due to significantly higher cash prices and lower overall feed prices. Cash prices for fed cattle are nearly $21 per cwt. higher than last year, and negotiated hog prices are more than $16 per cwt. higher than last year.