Another $1 per hundredweight improvement in the cash market resulted in a $34 per head improvement for feedlot margins. But with a $13 difference between the cash market and the breakeven prices for marketings, feedlot losses averaged $171.92 per head the week ending May 9, according to the Sterling Beef Profit Tracker.

The 5-Area direct price reached $161.72 per hundredweight last week, up from $160.74 the previous week. This is still almost $3 per hundredweight lower than one month ago. Feeder cattle were down last week, with 750 to 800 pound placements averaging $216.86 per hundredweight. Breakeven prices for placements were calculated at $162.16. Against marketings, breakeven prices averaged $174.94 per hundredweight, down from $176.61 the previous week.

Packer margins dropped $20 per head to $24.58 last week. Last month at this time, packers were losing $22 per head and last year at this time losses averaged $47.52 per head. The beef cutout value was down 40 cents to $254.33 per hundredweight.

Farrow-to-finish margins had a second consecutive week of strong gains, reaching $20.81 per head profits, compared to $6.56 per head losses the previous week, according to the Sterling Pork Profit Tracker. Lean hogs were also higher, reaching $79.34 per hundredweight, compared to $73.15 the previous week.

Pork packer margins declined last week, averaging negative $15.80 per head compared to negative $13.75 the previous week. The pork cutout value finished the week at $77.25 per hundredweight, up from $72.07 the previous week.

The Sterling Beef Profit Tracker for the week ending May 9:

  • Average feeder margins: -$171.92 per head.
  • Average beef packer margins: $24.58 per head.

The Sterling Pork Profit Tracker for the week ending May 8:

  • Average farrow-to-finish margins: $20.81 per head.
  • Average pork packer margins: -$15.80 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.