After a three-week skid, feedlot margins end August on an upward jump from $162.67 per head in the previous week to $171.99 per head for the week ending August 30, according to the Sterling Beef Profit Tracker’s latest report. August proved to be a volatile month for feedlot margins, significantly lower from the $354.40 per head price a month ago, but still above a year ago when margins were $57.96 per head in the red.

Fed cattle prices were also back up last week, moving from $153.31 per hundredweight to $155.74 per hundredweight. While this is still below last month at this time when fed cattle were bringing $162.48 per hundredweight, it’s well above a year ago when there were at $123.00 per hundredweight. Feeder steer prices dropped slightly from $220.49 per hundredweight in the previous week to $219.28 per hundredweight last week. The price isn’t much different from this time a month ago when feeder steers were bringing $221.87 per hundredweight, but significantly higher than the $151.81 per hundredweight price a year ago.

Packers took a huge hit last week, dropping from $120.30 per head to $81.52 per head. This is below a month ago when packers were making $93.15 per head, but well above the $13.18 per head price from a year ago. Beef cutout prices also slipped, dropping from $249.74 per head to $245.15 per head last week. This is lower than a month ago when beef cutouts were bringing $261.33, but higher than last year’s price of $192.59.

Farrow-to-finish margins took another huge hit for the week ending August 29, dropping from $40.32 per head to $28.10, says the Sterling Pork Profit Tracker’s latest report. A month ago farrow-to-finish margins were sitting at $91.75 per head and have continued to landslide since. This is still significantly higher than a year ago when prices were at $5.96 per head. Lean hogs also continue to drop, moving from $99.72 in the previous week to $94.38 last week. A year ago at this time, lean hogs were bringing $89.91 and a month ago they were bringing $123.28.

Pork packer margins decreased slightly last week, declining from $10.86 per head in the previous week to $9.47. A month ago, packers were making $8.36 per head, just $0.30 up from the same time a year ago. Pork cutouts were also on the decline last week, dropping from $10.86 to $9.47. This is much lower from last month when prices were at $129.73, but higher from the $97.52 price a year ago.

The Sterling Beef Profit Tracker for the week ending August 30:

  • Average feeder margins: $157.77 per head
  • Average beef packer margins: $77.03 per head

The Sterling Pork Profit Tracker for the week ending Aug 29:

  • Average farrow-to-finish margins: $41.53 per head.
  • Average pork packer margins: $9.18 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.