The downturn in cattle prices has caught cattle feeders in a tough spot, and improvements may be slow coming.
Projections from John Nalivka at Sterling Marketing suggest cattle feeders will suffer per-head losses of $450-480 October through December.
For 2016, he projects margins will improve greatly after the winter months and again moving into summer. By September 2016, his data says feeders could once again be in the black.
Nalivka's data also shows cattle feeders have been caught between the high price of calves they purchased to go on feed and the dropping fed-cattle prices. Feed and feeding costs remain fairly stable.
Beginning in January 2016, Nalivka projects feeder cattle will decline from an average price above $2 per pound to $1.60-1.70 per pound. In addition, he is projecting average fed-cattle prices next year to range from $124-142. Herein lies the improvements in feeding margins, according to his data.