Feedlot losses mount

Cattle feeders didn't get any relief last week as they saw margins fall even deeper in the red. Continued struggles in the cash market put further pressure on feeder margins, which finished the week at negative $206.94 per head, down from negative $190.31 the previous week, according to the Sterling Beef Profit Tracker.

The 5-area direct price feel $1 per hundredweight to $159.58 last week, down more than $6 from this time last week. Feeder cattle were down as well, with 750 to 800 pound placements bringing $208.08 per hundredweight compared to $216.11 the previous week. Breakeven prices for placements were down $5.60 per hundredweight to $156.99. Against this week's marketings, breakeven prices increased 27 cents to $175.50 per hundredweight.

Packers had another strong week, however, as profit margins increased more than $36 per head to $64.79. Comparatively, last month, packers were losing nearly $56 per head. The beef cutout value was mostly steady at $257.50 per hundredweight.

Farrow-to-finish margins continued on a slow, but steady, march toward the black last week, reaching negative $8.14 per head, compared to negative $10.67 per head, according to the Sterling Pork Profit Tracker. Lean hogs were up slightly, reaching $65.22 per hundredweight, compared to $64.44 the previous week.

Pork packer margins improved last week, averaging negative $4.06 cents per head compared to negative $6.35 the previous week. The pork cutout value finished the week at $68.71 per hundredweight, up from $66.77 the previous week.

The Sterling Beef Profit Tracker for the week ending April 25:

  • Average feeder margins: -$206.94 per head.
  • Average beef packer margins: $64.79 per head.

The Sterling Pork Profit Tracker for the week ending April 24:

  • Average farrow-to-finish margins: -$8.14 per head.
  • Average pork packer margins: -$4.06 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.


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