A decline of $5 per cwt in cash fed cattle prices pushed cattle feeding margins $60 per head lower, leaving losses at $120 per head, according to the Sterling Beef Profit Tracker. The total cost of finishing cattle last week was $1,646, compared to $1,655 the previous week and $2,155 last year.

Beef packer margins declined $3 per head to $121, according to calculations by Sterling Marketing, Vale, Ore. Packers earned an average of $118 per head during the same period a year ago.

A month ago cattle feeders were losing $1 per head, while a year ago losses were calculated at $118 per head. Feeder cattle represent 73% of the cost of finishing a steer, compared to 77% last year.

Farrow-to-finish pork producers lost $4 per hog last week, about $3 per head less than the week before, and $15 per head less than a month ago.

Pork packers saw their margins improve $5 per head to a total of $18, compared to $13 profits the week before. Negotiated prices for lean hogs were $62 per cwt. last week, a decline of $2.30 per cwt. from the previous week. Cash prices for fed cattle are $32 per cwt. lower than last year and prices for lean hogs are $9 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.