Feedlot margins made another strong push last week, improving another $43. Despite two weeks of $40 gains, however, feedlots lost nearly $129 per head the week ending March 28, according to the Sterling Beef Profit Tracker.

Fed cattle also had a positive week, climbing more than $2.30 per hundredweight to $165.77 last week. Feeder steer placements weighing between 750 and 800 pounds averaged $214.63 per hundredweight last week, up from $207 the previous week. Last year at this time, feeder placements were averaging $175 per hundredweight. Breakeven prices for placements also rose last week, topping $162 per hundredweight compared to $157 the previous week. Breakeven prices for marketings last week was $175.68, according to Sterling Marketing, Inc.

Packer margins improved slightly last week, to negative $46.57 per head, compared to negative $48.40 the previous week. The beef cutout value was more than $2 higher at $248.13 per hundredweight last week.

Farrow-to-finish margins dropped last week, falling to negative $16.97 per head, compared to negative $15.46 per head, according to the Sterling Pork Profit Tracker. Lean hogs were down again, falling to $58.46 per hundredweight, compared to $60.62 the previous week.

Pork packer margins improved last week, averaging $6.95 per head compared to $5.04 the previous week. The pork cutout value finished the week at $67.02 per hundredweight, down from $68.37 the previous week.

The Sterling Beef Profit Tracker for the week ending March 28:

  • Average feeder margins: -$128.80 per head.
  • Average beef packer margins: -$46.57 per head.

The Sterling Pork Profit Tracker for the week ending March 27:

  • Average farrow-to-finish margins: -$16.97 per head.
  • Average pork packer margins: $6.95 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.