Cattle feeding margins dipped more than $31 per head lower last week to average $157. The loss in profitability was due to an average $1.86 per cwt. decrease in cash cattle prices, according to the Sterling Beef Profit Tracker.
Profit margins for pork producers dropped $3.08 per head last week to $72.59 per head. The decrease was tied to a $0.22 per cwt. loss in negotiated cash prices. Both beef and pork margins are calculated by John Nalivka, president, Sterling Marketing, Vale, Ore.
Cattle feeders’ profits last week were $271 per head more than at the same time last year when $114 per head losses were recorded. Beef cutout values remained steady with a slight increase, and packer margins increased $67.41 per head, leaving packers with per head gains of $20.89. A week ago packers recorded losses of $46 on every animal processed, while profits totaled $93 per head at the same time last year.
Farrow-to-finish hog margins posted a loss from last week, and are now more than $14.50 per head less than last month. Pork packers saw their margins increase slightly last week, with the average at $1.85 in the profit column for every animal processed.
The spike in both cattle feeding and farrow-to-finish profits this spring is due to significantly higher cash prices and lower overall feed prices. Cash prices for fed cattle are nearly $21 per cwt. higher than last year, and negotiated hog prices are $19 per cwt. higher than last year.