Cattle Lose $30, Hogs Lose $40 Per Head

August 22, 2018 03:24 PM
Cattle and hog margins are headed south as supplies build and packers run near capacity.

Cattle feeders lost an average of $30 per head last week, $25 more than the week before, according to the Sterling Beef Profit Tracker. Packer margins improved $56 to $232 per head.

The beef cutout increased $3.59 per cwt., closing at $208.20. The cost of finishing a steer last week was calculated at $1,560, which is $158 higher than the $1,402 a year ago. The Beef and Pork Profit Trackers are calculated by Sterling Marketing Inc., Vale, Ore.

A year ago cattle feeders were earning $127 per head. Feeder cattle represent 73% of the cost of finishing a steer compared with 73% a year ago.

Farrow-to-finish pork producers saw their margins slip $12 per head to a negative $40 per head. Lean carcass prices traded at $44.56 per cwt., $6 per cwt. lower than the previous week, and $29 lower than two weeks ago. A year ago pork producers earned an average of $78 per head. Pork packer margins averaged a profit of $41 per head last week.

Cash prices for fed cattle are steady with the same week last year. Lean hog prices are about $34 per cwt. lower than last year.

Sterling Marketing president John Nalivka projects cash profit margins for cow-calf producers in 2018 will average $128 per cow. That would be $30 per head less than the estimated average profit of $158 for 2017. Estimated average cow-calf margins were $173 in 2016, and $438 per cow in 2015.

For feedyards, Nalivka projects an average profit of $57 per head in 2018, which would be $166 less than the average of $236 per head in 2017. Nalivka expects packer margins to average about $145 per head in 2018, up from $120 in 2017.

For farrow-to-finish pork producers, Nalivka projects 2018 profit margins will average a loss of $1.72 per head, compared to profits of $21 in 2017. Pork packers are projected to earn $15 per head in 2018, down from $25 profit per head in 2017.

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Spell Check

Douglas Street
Newton, KS
8/22/2018 04:22 PM

  Greg, good to know you are a Packer Backer.

Kearney, NE
8/24/2018 06:24 AM

  Agreed Douglas. He always has been a packer "lackey". Along with NCBA. Most of our problems can be traced to those who pretend to advocate for beef producers, while in reality they are trying to force producers into the type of serfdom achieved in the pork and chicken industries.


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