Indicators measuring America’s beef economy decreased significantly during October, with declines in key cattle prices, production costs, and performance and margins leading the way. Average fed-cattle prices were steady, but feeder cattle and calf prices declined 4 percent last month. Production costs earned a down arrow
as corn prices increased and the steer-corn ratio declined. Cattle feeders saw improvements in average daily gains, feed conversion and average cost of gain last month, but the category earns a down arrow due to the sharp decline in feedyard margins — from $15 per head losses in September to $55 per head losses in October. Packer margins also eroded substantially last month, from losses of $41 per head in September to losses of $67 per head in October. Last month also saw increases in the number of cattle on feed and feedlot placements, as well as increases in beef production. Additionally, pork and poultry production increased significantly during October.