As cattle, beef markets soar, feeder, packer margins improve

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The first weeks of 2014 have sent cattle markets soaring, including feeder margins, which ended the week ending January 11 at $121.94, compared to $79.76 one week ago, negative $17.22 one month ago and negative $48.68 at this time last year. According to the Sterling Beef Profit Tracker, feed prices were up nearly $5 compared to last week but down more than $130 compared to this time in 2013. Fed cattle prices climbed closer to $140 per hundredweight and finished the week at $139.93, compared to 138.08 the previous week.

While still in the red, packer margins improved last week nearly $32 to negative $39.20 compared to negative $71.17 the previous week and negative $64.70 at this time last year. The beef cutout value blew right past the $200 mark and hit $209.20 the week ending January 11, up from $199.71 the previous week and $190.92 at this time last year.

Farrow-to-finish margins also improved last week, closing out the week ending January 10 at negative $7.22, compared to negative $19.74 the previous week, according to the Sterling Pork Profit Tracker. Lean hogs finished the week $0.18 higher at $79.86, compared to $79.68 the previous week and $79.49 one month ago. Feed costs dropped nearly $0.50 to $85.14.

Pork packer margins improved $0.32 to $1.77, compared to $1.45 the previous week and $14.74 one month ago. The pork cutout value improved for the second consecutive week to $84.04 last week, compared to $83.70 the previous week.

The Sterling Beef Profit Tracker for the week ending January 11:

  • Average feeder margins: $121.94 per head.
  • Average beef packer margins: -$39.20 per head.

The Sterling Pork Profit Tracker for the week ending January 10:                                          

  • Average farrow-to-finish margins: $7.22 per head.
  • Average pork packer margins: $1.77 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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