Feeder margins march higher in early 2014

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Feeder margins continued their upward march last week by increasing more than $21 to finish the week ending January 4 at $79.76, according to the Sterling Beef Profit Tracker. Compared to this time last year when feeder margins started 2013 in the red at negative $28.47, feeders are experiencing margins that are more than $108 better. For the past month, feed costs have hovered between $330 and $335 and finished last week at $334.98, up $2.40 from the previous week. Fed cattle climbed $4.47 last week to $138.08 and are almost $10 higher than they were a year ago at this time.

Packer losses mounted last week and finished more than $17 deeper in the red to negative $71.17, compared to negative $53.98 last week and negative $39.90 one month ago. The beef cutout value increased $4.21 last week to $199.71, compared to $195.50 the previous week and $199.18 one month ago.

Farrow-to-finish margins fell $3.56 last week to negative $19.74 compared to negative $16.18 the previous week and negative $3.40 one month ago, according to the Sterling Pork Profit Tracker. Lean hogs increased $2.11 to $79.68 compared to $77.57 the previous week. Feed costs were down $0.83 to $85.61 the week ending January 3.

Packer margins dipped but stayed in the black and finished last week at $1.35 compared to $3.84 the previous week and $12.71 one month ago. The pork cutout value regained some of the ground it lost last week and rose to $83.70 compared to $82.85 the previous week.

The Sterling Beef Profit Tracker for the week ending January 4:

  • Average feeder margins: $79.76 per head.
  • Average beef packer margins: -$71.17 per head.

The Sterling Pork Profit Tracker for the week ending January 3:                                          

  • Average farrow-to-finish margins: -$19.74 per head.
  • Average pork packer margins: $1.35 per head.

The Sterling Beef and Pork Profit Trackers are produced by Sterling Marketing Inc. and John Nalivka, president, Vale, Ore., and are published weekly by Drovers/CattleNetwork, and PorkNetwork.



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