Feedyard margins remained about $150 per head last week despite a $6 per cwt. retreat in cash cattle prices. Last week was the third consecutive week in the black for feedyards after more than 17 months of losses, according to the Sterling Beef Profit Tracker.
Feedyard profits declined $76 per head for the week as average breakevens registered roughly $114 per cwt. Average feeder cattle prices against last week’s marketings were $147 per cwt., about steady with the previous week, according to Sterling Marketing, Vale, Ore. USDA’s 5-area cash price was $124.82 per cwt., compared with the previous week at $130.83.
The total cost of finishing cattle last week was $1,586, compared to $1,594 the previous week and $2,230 last year.
Beef packer margins increased $22 per head, resulting in average profits of $125 on every animal processed. Packer margins are about steady with one month ago.
A month ago cattle feeders were losing $74 per head, while a year ago losses were pegged at $16 per head, according to Sterling Marketing. Feeder cattle represent 72% of the cost of finishing a steer, compared to 77% last year.
A month ago beef packers were earning $126 for every animal processed, while a year ago packers were earning $65, Sterling Marketing estimates.
Farrow-to-finish pork producers earned $29 per hog last week, roughly $5 per hog less than the previous week, but $9 better than a month ago.
Pork packers saw their margins improve about $5 from last week’s breakeven scenario. Negotiated prices for lean hogs were $76.27 per cwt. last week, a decrease of $2.15 per cwt. from the previous week. Cash prices for fed cattle are $34 per cwt. lower than last year, and negotiated hog prices are $5 per cwt. lower than last year.
Nalivka projects average cash profit margins for cow-calf producers at $177 per cow this year. Last year’s estimated average cow-calf margins were $432 per cow.