Feeder margins escaped negative figures last week, improving by $71.88 to average $42.88 per head. The improvement lifts feeders out of the red according to the Sterling Beef Profit Tracker.

Healthy feeder margin gains were supported by decreasing feed costs, which fell 18 cents lower per head and higher Choice steer prices, breaking the $123 streak to move 95 cents higher per hundredweight to $123.95.

Feeder margins are $71.88 per head higher than a week earlier and $102.41 above last month. Feeder margins are $88.03 per head higher than the average this time last year according to estimates by Sterling Marketing, Inc., Vale, Ore.

Beef packer margins turn negative with last week’s losses averaging negative $23.63 per head. The losses were substantially lower than the negative $8.06 from a week earlier, but not as bad as the average losses of negative $51.58 set this time last year. Packers were squeezed by the higher cash cattle prices and decreasing beef cutout values.

Increasing cash hog values continue to lift pork producer margins, up an additional $1.22 last week compared to the previous week according to the Sterling Pork Profit Tracker.

Pork producer margins averaged $13.51 per head last week compared to $11.58 a month earlier and negative $30.88 this time last year. Margins were supported by declining feed costs and higher cash prices, averaging $97.14 per hundredweight.

Pork packer margins continued lower, losing another 46 cents last week to average $3.48 per head. Packer margins are $9.69 per head lower than a month ago and $16.11 per head below margins from this time last year.

The Sterling Beef Profit Tracker for the week ending September 21:

  • Average feedyard margins: $42.88 per head.
  • Average packer margins: -$23.63 per head.

The Sterling Pork Profit Tracker for the week ending September 20:                                          

  • Average farrow-to-finish margins: $13.51 per head.
  • Average pork packer margins: -$3.48 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.