Cattle feeding losses jumped back into triple digits last week on softer fed cattle prices. Feedyards lost an average of $106 on every animal sold, more than double the $46 per head losses seen the previous week, according to calculations by Sterling Marketing, Vale, Ore. Choice steer prices averaged $150.60 per cwt., $1.23 per cwt. lower than the previous week.
Beef packers saw their margins improve dramatically – from a $6 per loss to a $30 per head profit last week. Packers’ improving margins were due to the lower cash cattle trade and a $7.41 per cwt. rally in the beef cutout price.
A month ago cattle feeders were losing $105 per head, while a year ago profits were pegged at $198 per head, according to Sterling Marketing. Feeder cattle represent 78 % of the cost of finishing a steer, still significantly higher than last year’s 72%.
A month ago beef packers were losing $15 on every animal processed, while a year ago packers were earning $112, Sterling Marketing estimates.
Farrow-to-finish pork producers showed a profit margin of $24 per hog last week, up $2 from the previous week and up $1 from a month ago.
Pork packers saw their margins improve $2 per head to a $14 per head profit. Negotiated prices for lean hogs were $77.66 per cwt. last week, up 18 cents per cwt. from the previous week.
Cash prices for fed cattle are $4 per cwt. lower than last year, and negotiated hog prices are $40 per cwt. lower than last year.
Nalivka projects average cash profit margins for cow-calf producers at $606 per cow this year. Last year’s estimated average cow-calf margins were $548 per cow. Cow-calf profits for 2016 are projected at $490 per cow.