Last week’s $2 per cwt cash cattle rally lifted feedyard margins to breakeven. That’s $25 per head better than the previous week, according to the Sterling Beef Profit Tracker. The total cost of finishing cattle last week was $1,662, compared to $1,656 the previous week and $2,058 last year.

Beef packer margins declined $29 per head to $91, according to calculations by Sterling Marketing, Vale, Ore. Packers lost an average of $5 per head during the same period a year ago.

A month ago cattle feeders were earning $33 per head, while a year ago profits were calculated at $52 per head. Feeder cattle represent 73% of the cost of finishing a steer, compared to 77% last year.

Farrow-to-finish pork producers earned $11 per hog last week, about $13 per head less than the week before, and $29 per head less than a month ago.

Pork packers saw their margins decline to $11 per head compared to $17 profits the week before. Negotiated prices for lean hogs were $67.18 per cwt. last week, a decrease of $3 per cwt. from the previous week. Cash prices for fed cattle are $33 per cwt. lower than last year and prices for lean hogs are $10 per cwt. lower.

Nalivka projects average cash profit margins for cow-calf producers at $175 per cow this year. Last year’s estimated average cow-calf margins were $432 per cow.