Cattle feeding margins took another hit last week as softer prices added another $35 to closeout losses. Feedyards are now losing $305 per head, according to calculations by Sterling Marketing, Vale, Ore. Choice steer prices dropped another $3 per cwt. in cash trades, closing at $139 per cwt.
Beef packers saw their margins improve another $23 per head with average profits now at $138. The beef cutout declined $2 per cwt. to $236.47.
A month ago cattle feeders were losing $106 per head, while a year ago profits were pegged at $231 per head, according to Sterling Marketing. Feeder cattle represent 79% of the cost of finishing a steer, significantly higher than last year’s 73%.
A month ago beef packers were earning $32 for every animal processed, while a year ago packers were earning $13, Sterling Marketing estimates.
Farrow-to-finish pork producers showed a profit margin of $7 per hog last week, a decline of $5 per head from the previous week and down $16 from a month ago.
Pork packers saw their margins improve $6 per head to $23. Negotiated prices for lean hogs were $68.75, per cwt. last week, down $2.79 per cwt. from the previous week. Cash prices for fed cattle are $21 per cwt. lower than last year, and negotiated hog prices are $35 per cwt. lower than last year.
Nalivka projects average cash profit margins for cow-calf producers at $546 per cow this year. Last year’s estimated average cow-calf margins were $548 per cow. Cow-calf profits for 2016 are projected at $440 per cow.