Cattle feeders had another rough week, with per head losses remaining at more than $206 despite improvement in the cash market. Last year at this time, cattle feeders were earning $196.50 per head, according to the Sterling Beef Profit Tracker.

The 5-area direct price improved $1 per hundredweight to $160.74 last week. Feeder cattle were also up last week, with 750 to 800 pound placements bringing $213.49 per hundredweight compared to $208.08 the previous week. Breakeven prices for placements were up a little more than $3 to $160.13 per hundredweight.  Against this week’s marketings, breakeven prices increased about $1 to $176.61 per hundredweight.

Packer margins were down last week, falling to $44.65 per head compared to $65.62 per head the previous week. Last month, packers were losing nearly $41 per head. The beef cutout value was down last week, falling to $254.79 compared to $257.50 per hundredweight the last week of April.

Farrow-to-finish margins were more than $10 higher last week, reaching $2.59 per head profits, compared to $8.14 per head losses the previous week, according to the Sterling Pork Profit Tracker. Lean hogs were also higher, reaching $71.15 per hundredweight, compared to $65.22 the previous week.

Pork packer margins declined last week, averaging negative $9.48 per head compared to negative $4.06 the previous week. The pork cutout value finished the week at $72.07 per hundredweight, up from $68.71 the previous week.

The Sterling Beef Profit Tracker for the week ending May 2:

  • Average feeder margins: -$206.35 per head.
  • Average beef packer margins: $44.65 per head.

The Sterling Pork Profit Tracker for the week ending May 1:

  • Average farrow-to-finish margins: $2.59 per head.
  • Average pork packer margins: -$9.48 per head.

The Sterling Beef and Pork Profit Trackers are produced by Sterling Marketing Inc. and John Nalivka, president, Vale, Ore., and are published weekly by Drovers/CattleNetwork, and PorkNetwork.