Cattle feeding margins declined more than $35 per head last week, but remain in positive territory at an average of $25.17. Packer margins improved, but remained at $11.86 below breakeven. The Sterling Profit Quotient remains in positive territory at 72.9.

“Feedlot margins were positive simply because the price of those cattle when they were placed on feed was more manageable in today's environment of soft demand for beef,” says Sterling Marketing president John Nalivka. “Bidding too much into the cattle to utilize capacity - whether it is bunk space in the feedlot, or slaughter capacity at the packing plant - is not a good situation, and packer margins continue to illustrate that point.”

The Sterling Beef Profit Tracker is calculated using actual weekly prices for Choice fed steers, feeder steers, feed costs, boxed beef-cutout prices, hide and offal values, and other factors that influence profit margins.

The Sterling Beef Profit Tracker for the week ending 7/25/09:

  • Average feedyard margins: $25.17 per head.
  • Average packer margins: -$11.86 per head.
  • Sterling Profit Quotient:  72.9

For additional information and a chart about this week’s Sterling Beef Profit Tracker, click here.

The Sterling Beef Profit Tracker is produced by Sterling Marketing Inc. and John Nalivka, president, Vale, Ore., and is published weekly by Drovers/CattleNetwork.