Feedyard margins – Wow! Packer margins – Ouch!

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Cattle feeders saw their profit margins jump an astonishing $137 per head last week as cash fed cattle prices gained $6 per hundredweight, reaching new record-highs. When the dust had settled, packers were staring at another week of declining margins, with per head losses nearing $80, according to the Sterling Beef Profit Tracker. The Sterling Beef Profit Quotient improved 360 points for the week, according to estimates developed by Sterling Marketing Inc., Vale, Ore.

Pork producer margins declined more than $7 per head last week, but farrow-to-finish margins remain solidly profitable. Pork packer margins held steady at nearly $9 profit per head, according to the Sterling Pork Profit Tracker.

Cash fed cattle traded at $129.06 per hundredweight last week, about $5.10 higher than the previous week. Western Corn Belt negotiated hog prices were $86.68 per hundredweight, $1.10 lower than the previous week.

A year ago cattle feeders sold cash cattle at $109.99 per hundredweight which resulted in profits of $154.15 per head. Last year cash hogs fetched $80.96 per hundredweight resulting in profits of $14.89 per head.

The Sterling Beef and Pork Profit Trackers are calculated using actual weekly prices for both cattle and hogs, feed costs, beef and pork cutout prices, drop credits and other factors that influence profit margins.

The Sterling Beef Profit Tracker for the week ending February 18:

  • Average feedyard margins: $73.28 per head.
  • Average packer margins:   -$79.65 per head.
  • Sterling Profit Quotient:  200.5.

The Sterling Pork Profit Tracker for the week ending February 18:

  • Average farrow-to-finish margins:  $15.10 per head.
  • Average pork packer margins:   $8.75 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.



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