Cattle feeders’ woes continued last week as margins fell deeper in the red, according to the Sterling Beef Profit Tracker. After climbing $34 per head the previous week, margins dropped more than $11 per head last week, with per head losses averaging $183.15.

Fed cattle were also lower last week, falling nearly $1.20 per hundredweight to $160.55. This is about even with cash prices a month ago. Feeder cattle, however, were up the week ending May 16. Placements weighing between 750 to 800 pounds averaged $218.88 per hundredweight. Breakeven prices for placements were calculated at $163.74, up $1.50 per hundredweight from the previous week. Against marketings, breakeven prices averaged $174.64, down 30 cents per hundredweight from the previous week.

Packer margins rose nearly $40 per head last week to $64.36. Compared to a year ago, packer margins are nearly $100 higher. The beef cutout value was also higher last week, increasing more than $5 per hundredweight to $259.49.

Farrow-to-finish margins posted strong gains again last week, reaching $38.23 per head profits, compared to $20.81 per head losses the previous week, according to the Sterling Pork Profit Tracker. Lean hogs were also higher, reaching $82.65 per hundredweight, compared to $79.34 the previous week.

Pork packer margins improved last week, averaging negative $10.33 per head compared to negative $15.80 the previous week. The pork cutout value finished the week at $83.18 per hundredweight, up from $77.25 the previous week.

The Sterling Beef Profit Tracker for the week ending May 16:

  • Average feeder margins: -$183.15 per head.
  • Average beef packer margins: $64.36 per head.

The Sterling Pork Profit Tracker for the week ending May 15:

  • Average farrow-to-finish margins: $28.12 per head.
  • Average pork packer margins: -$10.33 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.