What a difference a year makes for feeder margins

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In 365 days, cattle feeder margins have taken a nearly $337 per head positive swing. According to the Sterling Profit Tracker, cattle feeder margins finished the week ending March 1 at $284.85, pushed higher by record cash prices for fed cattle, compared to $253.80 the previous week and negative $52.05 per head at this time last year. Choice fed steers topped $151 per hundredweight, up $4.47 per hundredweight compared to the previous week. Feeder steers experienced a drop in price last week, falling to $166.01 per hundredweight, compared to $167.34 the previous week. Feed costs hit $354.74 per head, compared to $352.04 the previous week, but total costs were down $8 per head.

While moving in the right direction, beef packers continued losing money last week. Margins improved to negative $80.64 per head compared to negative $81.92 per head the previous week. The beef cutout value increased $6.58 per hundredweight last week to $219.05, compared to $212.47. At this time last year, the cutout value stood at $185.10.

Farrow-to-finish margins continued recent positive trends last week and finished the week ending February 28 at $49.81, compared to $35.02 the previous week and negative $37.27 at this time last year, according to the Sterling Pork Profit Tracker. Lean hogs also finished the week higher at $98.70, compared to $92.37 the previous week and $82.24 at this time last month.

Pork packer margins dipped into the red last week, finishing out at negative $0.01, compared to $1.85 the previous week, $9.54 one month ago and $7.20 at this time last year. The pork cutout value increased $5.32 last week to $101.71. At this time last year, the pork cutout value stood at $81.47.

The Sterling Beef Profit Tracker for the week ending March 1:

  • Average feeder margins: $284.85 per head.
  • Average beef packer margins: -$80.64 per head.

The Sterling Pork Profit Tracker for the week ending February 28:                                          

  • Average farrow-to-finish margins: $49.81 per head.
  • Average pork packer margins: -$0.01 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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