Feedlot operators faced another week of negative margins to close out February, according to the Sterling Beef Profit Tracker. Feedlot margins declined nearly $45 last week, falling to negative $150 per head, a more than $430 difference per head compared to last year when feedlot margins were nearly $258 per head.

Fed cattle were down less than $1 per hundredweight last week at $158.67 (compared to $159.04 the previous week). Feeder calves were also relatively steady last week, however, instead of dropping, the price for 750 to 800 pound steers placed last week increased 65 cents per hundredweight to $208. Last week’s breakeven for placements was $157.88 per hundredweight (from 30 cents from the week before), according to John Nalivka.

Packer margins improved $80 per head last week but are still in the red at negative $15.85 per head. The beef cutout value improved more than $6 per hundredweight to nearly $245.

Farrow-to-finish margins climbed back into positive territory last week, with profits reaching $7.10 per head, according to the Sterling Pork Profit Tracker. Lean hogs also increased last week, reaching $67.10 per hundredweight, compared to $59.62 the previous week.

Pork packer margins dropped last week, averaging $10.04 per head compared to $16.07 the previous week. The pork cutout value finished the week at $70.14 per hundredweight, down from $72.21 the previous week.

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

  • Average feeder margins: -$150.33 per head.
  • Average beef packer margins: -$15.85 per head.

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

  • Average farrow-to-finish margins: $7.10 per head.
  • Average pork packer margins: $10.04 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.