Despite a $2 per cwt. decline in cash fed cattle prices last week, cattle feeding margins remain more than $209 per head. Profit margins declined just $4 per head last week, but are $9 per head higher than a month ago, according to the Sterling Beef Profit Tracker. A year ago cattle feeding margins sat at $132 per head. Farrow to finish pork margins slipped $11 per head to slightly more than $27 per head. Both beef and pork profit margins are calculated by John Nalivka, president, Sterling Marketing, Vale, Ore.
Beef packers saw declining margins last week, with average per head losses at $83, compared with losses of $68 per head the week before. Last year at this time packers were losing $43 per head. The boxed beef cutout gained nearly $3 per cwt. last week to $248.51 per cwt. Cash fed cattle prices were quoted at $167.
Pork packers saw their margins slip nearly $6 per head, with profits now just about $3 per head.
Cash prices for fed cattle are nearly $35 per cwt. higher than last year, and negotiated hog prices are $2 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.