After slicing more than 50% off the monstrous losses found a month ago, cattle feeders saw their margins slip $43 per further into the red last week with $2 per cwt. lower bids. Closeouts revealed a $383 per head loss on cash prices of $132.57, according to Sterling Marketing, Vale, Ore.
Last week’s dip in cash prices was loosely tied to the New Year selloff on Wall Street, and a little surprising to feeders who had priced their weekly showlists at $140 per cwt. Last week’s 5-area cash price was $29.46 per cwt. short of breakeven.
Sterling Marketing president John Nalivka calculates that feedyards lost a cumulative unhedged $4.7 billion in 2015. That compares to an unhedged profit of $3.9 billion in 2014, and losses of $1.1 billion in 2013.
Feeder cattle prices factored into Sterling Marketing’s sample closeout were $2 per cwt. higher than the previous week at $215.58 per cwt., and $10 per cwt. lower than feeder cattle prices factored into closeouts a month ago. Yearling feeder cattle placed on feed last week averaged $166 per cwt., which represents a $496 per head decline from the same steers placed on feed a year ago.