Record cash fed cattle prices last week at $171 - $172 per cwt. boosted cattle feeding margins $22 per head, according to the Sterling Beef Profit Tracker. Feeding profits are up about $56 per head from a month ago, and $147 per head higher than the same week a year ago. Farrow to finish pork margins improved $4 per head to slightly more than $34 per head. Both beef and pork profit margins are calculated by John Nalivka, president, Sterling Marketing, Vale, Ore.
Beef packers saw their margins fall further into the red, with losses now totaling more than $83 per head, Sterling Marketing estimates. Those losses are nearly double what they were a month ago and $48 more than last year’s average losses of $35 per head. The beef cutout was up only slightly last week at $247.88.
Pork packers saw their margins slip $2 per head, with profits now just over $7 per head.
Cash prices for fed cattle are $38 per cwt. higher than last year, and negotiated hog prices are $6 per cwt. higher than last year.
Nalivka projects average cash profit margins for cow-calf producers at $556 per cow this year. Last year’s estimated average cow-calf margins were $243 per cow.