Cattle feeding margins declined $48 per head last week, and that after a $45 decline the week before. The tumbling profit margins are a reflection of last spring’s higher priced feeder cattle coming to market as fed cattle. Despite the decline, feeding margins remain more than $138 per head, according to the Sterling Beef Profit Tracker. A year ago feedyard margins were approximately $76 per head. Farrow to finish pork margins improved $6.72 per head to nearly $61. Both beef and pork profit margins are calculated by John Nalivka, president, Sterling Marketing, Vale, Ore.
Feed costs continue to decline for both cattle and hog feeders. Cattle marketed last week saw feed costs about $50 per head less than cattle marketed at the same time last year.
Beef packer margins declined $29 per head last week leaving packers with losses of $39 per head. That’s nearly equal to the $42 per head losses packers saw at this time last year. Pork packers saw a $11 per head gain in profitability to end the week with average margins of $15.80 per head. Cash prices for fed cattle are nearly $32 per cwt. higher than last year, and negotiated hog prices are $3 per cwt. higher than last year.
Nalivka projects average cash profit margins for cow-calf producers at $527 per cow this year. Last year’s estimated average cow-calf margins were $243 per cow.