Profit Tracker: Feedyard Losses Exceed $50 Per Head

Profit Tracker: Feedyard Losses Exceed $50 Per Head

Cattle feeding margins declined nearly $53 per head last week, leaving average losses at $56 per head. A year ago cattle feeders were earning $171 on every animal sold, according to the Sterling Beef Profit Tracker.

Packer margins improved $37 per head to average $52 profits on every animal processed.

Farrow-to-finish pork margins improved $13 per head, pulling those averages out of slightly negative territory to a positive $13. Both beef and pork profit margins are calculated by Sterling Marketing, Vale, Ore.

The cost of feeder cattle factored against last week’s live cattle sales was $1 per cwt. lower, while average total feed costs were unchanged. Feeder cattle represent nearly 80% of the total cost for finishing a steer, up significantly from last year when feeder cattle represented 69% of that total cost.

A month ago beef packers were losing an average of $50 on every animal processed, while a year ago packers were seeing profits of $32 per head, Sterling Marketing estimates. Pork packers saw their margins decline about $5 per head, with profits now at $14 per head.

Cash prices for fed cattle are $14 per cwt. higher than last year, and negotiated hog prices are $13 per cwt. lower than last year.

Nalivka projects average cash profit margins for cow-calf producers at $688 per cow this year. Last year’s estimated average cow-calf margins were $548 per cow. 

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