Profit margins for both beef and pork producers moved slightly higher last week, ending a month-long downward trend. Both sectors remain solidly profitable.
Cattle feeders recorded average profits of $179 per head last week, about $3 per head more than the previous week, according to the Sterling Beef Profit Tracker. The margins represent a $229 per head improvement over the average losses of $49 recorded last year at this time, according to estimates developed by John Nalivka, president of Sterling Marketing, Vale, Ore.
Beef cutout values improved $7.32 per cwt. last week, boosting beef packer margins $83 per head to end the week with profits of $23 per head. A month ago packers recorded profits of $32on every animal processed, and losses totaled $59 per head at the same time last year.
Farrow-to-finish hog margins improved $2.49 per head with average profits at more than $87 per head. Negotiated cash hog prices declined $1.42 per cwt. to $116.68 per cwt. Pork packers were estimated to earn $4.19 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 $18 per cwt. higher than last year, and negotiated hog prices are more than $33 per cwt. higher than last year.