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Profit Tracker: Feedyard Margins Top $200 Per Head

May 13, 2014
By: Greg Henderson, Beef Today Editorial Director
BT Rotator Feedlot 8
Cattle feeding margins jumped nearly $20 per head higher last week to average $216.   

Cattle feeding margins jumped nearly $20 per head higher last week to average $216. The increase in profitability was due to an average $0.42 per cwt. increase in cash cattle prices and a decline in total feed costs for the calculated feeding period, according to the Sterling Beef Profit Tracker.

Profit margins for pork producers rose $4.97 per head last week to $80.60 per head. The increase was tied to a $0.35 per cwt. improvement in negotiated cash prices. Both beef and pork margins are calculated by John Nalivka, president, Sterling Marketing, Vale, Ore.

Cattle feeders’ profits last week were $319 per head more than at the same time last year when $103 per head losses were recorded. Beef cutout values declined nearly $6 per cwt. last week, and packer margins declined $64 per head, leaving packers with per head losses of $47. A month ago packers recorded losses of $63 on every animal processed, while profits totaled $15 per head at the same time last year.

Farrow-to-finish hog margins posted the first gain in several weeks, and are now about $20 per head less than last month. Pork packers saw their margins decline slightly last week, with the average at $3..44 in the loss column for every animal processed.

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 more than $22 per cwt. higher than last year, and negotiated hog prices are more than $22 per cwt. higher than last year.

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