Beef packer margins turn positive

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After nearing $285 per head, cattle feeding margins dropped the $233.83 per head last week, according to the Sterling Beef Profit Tracker. While more than $51 lower over the past week, feeding margins are still high compared to $145.47 per head last month and negative $54.52 at this time last year.

Choice fed steers are dipped slightly to $149.30 per hundredweight last week compared to $151.07. Again, this is still more than $20 per hundredweight higher than last year’s prices for fed steers. Feeder steers climbed $2.99 on the week to $169 per hundredweight. Feed costs were up $14.07 per head last week to $368.81, and total costs topped $1,804, compared to $1,765.84 the previous week.

Beef packer margins climbed into positive territory last week, to $8.55 per head compared to negative $80.64 per head the previous week. The beef cutout topped $230, finishing the week ending March 8 at $232.88 per hundredweight, compared to $219.05 the previous week and $194.50 at this time last year.

Farrow-to-finish margins hit their highest point since July 11, 1987, according to the Sterling Pork Profit Tracker. Margins hit $66.31 per head the week ending March 7, compared to $49.81 the previous week, $18.30 one month ago and $11.55 at this time last year. Lean hogs followed suit and hit $106.03, compared to $98.70 the previous week.

Pork packer margins improved $0.07 to $0.15 per head last week. At this time last month, pork packers were earning $8.17 per head and $3.37 per head at this time last year. The pork cutout value increased $7.29 last week to $109. At this time last year, the pork cutout value stood at $79.61.

The Sterling Beef Profit Tracker for the week ending March 8:

  • Average feeder margins: $233.83 per head.
  • Average beef packer margins: $8.55 per head.

The Sterling Pork Profit Tracker for the week ending March 7:                                          

  • Average farrow-to-finish margins: $66.31 per head.
  • Average pork packer margins: $0.15 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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