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Profit Tracker: Beef Rising, Pork Falling

12:04PM Aug 07, 2014

BT Beef Grocery 3( Wyatt Bechtel )

Profit margins for cattle feeders moved higher last week while pork producers saw a dip in profitability. Both sectors remain solidly profitable.

Cattle feeders recorded average profits of $381.70 per head last week, about $24 per head more than the previous week, according to the Sterling Beef Profit Tracker. The margins represent a whopping $506.53 per head improvement over the average losses of $124.83 recorded last year at this time, according to estimates developed by John Nalivka, president of Sterling Marketing, Vale, Ore.

Beef cutout values improved $8.64 per cwt. last week, boosting beef packer margins to $81.12 per head to end the week. A month ago packers recorded profits of $47.75 on every animal processed, compared to just over $10 per head at the same time last year.

Farrow-to-finish hog margins declined $10.43 per head with average profits at more than $91 per head. Negotiated cash hog prices dipped by $4.73 per cwt. to $123.28 per cwt. Pork packers were estimated to earn $8.49 for every animal processed.

The spike in both cattle feeding and farrow-to-finish profits this summer is due to significantly higher cash prices and lower overall feed prices. Cash prices for fed cattle are more than $45 per cwt. higher than last year, and negotiated hog prices are more than $24 per cwt. higher than last year.