A lot can happen in 30 days, and for cattle feeders, the last 30 days have brought nearly $150 additional per head as margins have increased from $172.96 last month to $319.16 the week ending July 5. Even more impressive, one year ago, feedlots were losing $194.97 per head – a swing of more than $514, according to the latest data from the Sterling Beef Profit Tracker.

Fed cattle continued to rally, hitting $157.75 per hundredweight compared to $154.46 the previous week, $145.72 one month ago and $118.94 at this time last year. After dropping last week, feeder steers also climbed higher last week. Feeder steers weighing between 750 and 800 pounds hit $214.32 last week. At this time last year, feeders were bringing $145.05 per hundredweight. The breakeven price for last week’s placements was $163.31, up from $160.51 the previous week.

After topping $81 per head the previous week, packer margins declined to $47.63 last week. The beef cutout value increased last week to $245.82, up from $242.75 the previous week, $229.34 last month and $194.25 at this time last year.

Farrow-to-finish margins stayed above $100 and increased to $103.81 per head the week ending July 4 compared to $101.44 the previous week, according to the Sterling Pork Profit Tracker. At this time last month, the farrow-to-finish margin was $74.74 per head and last year it stood at $20.65. Lean hogs were also up last week, increasing to $129.23, compared to $127.22.

Pork packer margins climbed out of the red and hit $2.47 per head last week, compared to negative 18 cents the previous week. Last month, pork packers were making $9.56 per head and $3.31 per head at this time last year. The pork cutout value increased to $132.88 from $129.72 the previous week.  

The Sterling Beef Profit Tracker for the week ending July 5:

  • Average feeder margins: $319.16 per head.
  • Average beef packer margins: $47.63 per head.

The Sterling Pork Profit Tracker for the week ending July 4:                                          

  • Average farrow-to-finish margins: $103.81 per head.
  • Average pork packer margins: $2.47 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.