Cattle feeding margins declined more than $28 per head last week, leaving average losses just over $45 per head, according to the Sterling Beef Profit Tracker.

Beef packers saw their margins improve $2.50 per head on the week, but remain more than $50 on the negative side of the ledger. The Sterling Beef Profit Quotient lost 85 points for the week and the industry profitability index is now negative 149.4, according to estimates developed by Sterling Marketing, Inc., Vale, Ore. A month ago the Sterling Beef Profit Quotient was a negative 467.

Pork producer margins improved $5.27 per head last week, with margins now $30.88 in the red per hog marketed. Negotiated cash hog prices improved $4.12 per hundredweight last week. Pork packer margins improved $12.40 per head for the week, leaving losses at nearly $13 per head, according to the Sterling Pork Profit Tracker.

A year ago cattle feeders sold cash cattle at $116 per hundredweight, resulting in losses of $53 per head. Last year cash hogs fetched $91.32 per hundredweight, resulting in profits of $5.45 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 Sept. 22:

  • Average feedyard margins: -$45.15 per head.
  • Average packer margins: -$51.58 per head.
  • Sterling Profit Quotient: -149.4.

The Sterling Pork Profit Tracker for the week ending Sept. 21:

  • Average farrow-to-finish margins: -$30.88 per head.
  • Average pork packer margins: $12.76 per head.