Profit Tracker: Gaining momentum

A cash market rally helped add $62 per head to feedyard margins last week, ending with total average profits of $212 per head, according to the Sterling Beef Profit Tracker. USDA's 5-area cash price increased more than $4 per cwt., closing the week at $129.01. The total cost of finishing cattle last week was $1,582, compared to $1,586 the previous week and $2,230 last year.

Beef packer margins increased

$19 per head, resulting in average profits of $145 on every animal processed. Packer margins are about $100 per head better than a month ago.

A month ago cattle feeders were losing $30 per head, while a year ago losses were pegged at $64 per head, according to Sterling Marketing. Feeder cattle represent 72% of the cost of finishing a steer, compared to 78% last year.

A month ago beef packers were earning $46 for every animal processed, while a year ago packers were earning $13, Sterling Marketing estimates.

Farrow-to-finish pork

producers earned $30 per hog last week, roughly the same as last week's profits, but $4 better than a month ago.

Pork packers saw their margins improve about $2 from last week to an average of $7 per head. Negotiated prices for lean hogs were $76.88 per cwt. last week, an increase of $0.61 per cwt. from the previous week. Cash prices for fed cattle are $26 per cwt. lower than last year, and negotiated hog prices are $4 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.