Cattle feeding margins improved nearly $50 per head last week, leaving average losses just over $35 per head, according to the Sterling Beef Profit Tracker.

Beef packers saw their margins improve nearly $2 per head on the week leaving losses in excess of $50 per head. The Sterling Beef Profit Quotient gained 146 points for the week and the industry profitability index is now negative 119.1, according to estimates developed by Sterling Marketing, Inc., Vale, Ore. A month ago the Sterling Beef Profit Quotient was a negative 245.2.

Pork producer margins improved $7.95 per head last week, with margins now $7.14 in the red per hog marketed. Negotiated cash hog prices improved $4.46 per hundredweight last week. Pork packer margins declined $1.09 per head for the week, leaving profits at $2.90 per head, according to the Sterling Pork Profit Tracker.

A year ago cattle feeders sold cash cattle at $121 per hundredweight, resulting in losses of $7.44 per head. Last year cash hogs fetched $94.34 per hundredweight, resulting in profits of $10.04 per head.

The Sterling Beef and Pork Profit Trackers are calculated using actual weekly prices for both cattle and hogs, feed costs, beef and pork cutout prices, drop credits and other factors that influence profit margins.

The Sterling Beef Profit Tracker for the week ending Oct. 6:

  • Average feedyard margins: -$35.01 per head.
  • Average packer margins: -$52.63 per head.
  • Sterling Profit Quotient: -119.1.

The Sterling Pork Profit Tracker for the week ending Oct. 5:

  • Average farrow-to-finish margins: -$7.14 per head.  
  • Average pork packer margins: $3.90 per head.