Feedyard profit margins jumped another $36 per head last week, lifting the total to an exceptional $406. Those average margins were 40% higher than one month ago, according to the Sterling Beef Profit Tracker. Last week was the 16th consecutive week of feedyard profitability.
Last week’s 5-area cash fed cattle price firmed up at $125.15, while the cost of finishing a steer declined $30 to $1,335 per head. A year ago the total cost of finishing a steer was $1,850, or $515 higher.
Packer margins also jumped $65 higher to $135 per head. That’s a $130 increase over a month ago. The Beef and Pork Profit Trackers are calculated by Sterling Marketing, Vale, Ore.
A month ago cattle feeders were earning $245 per head, while a year ago profits were calculated at $69 per head. Feeder cattle represent 73% of the cost of finishing a steer, compared to 78% last year.
Farrow-to-finish pork producers earned $26 per hog last week, a $1 decline from the previous week. A month ago farrow-to-finish pork producers showed a profit of about $32 per head.
Pork packers saw their margins improve $2 per head to $16. Negotiated prices for lean hogs were $70.15 per cwt. last week, about $0.32 per cwt. lower. Cash prices for fed cattle are $13 per cwt. lower than last year and prices for lean hogs are about $5 higher than last year.
Sterling Marketing president John Nalivka projects average cash profit margins for cow-calf producers at $177 per cow for 2016. In 2017, Nalivka projects cow-calf profits of $78 per cow. Estimated average cow-calf margins were $438 per cow in 2015.