Profit Tracker: Feeding Margins Begin New Year Lower

Farm Journal logo

Cattle feeders began the New Year with black ink on their closeouts, but profits were minimal. Average feedyard margins were $8 per head last week, a $14 per head decline from the previous week, according to the Sterling Beef Profit Tracker. A month ago feeders were earning $45 profits per head, and a year ago profits were $80 per head.

Average cash cattle prices improved $4 per cwt. last week, with the 5-area Direct price at $165.63. The cost of feeder cattle factored into last week’s Profit Tracker was $9 per head higher, while feed costs declined modestly. Feeder cattle represent nearly 80% of the total cost for finishing a steer. A year ago feeder cattle represented 68% of that total cost.

Farrow-to-finish pork margins fell nearly $4 per head last week, closing with a per head profit of $9. Both beef and pork profit margins are calculated by Sterling Marketing, Vale, Ore.

Beef packers saw their margins decline $5 per head, with losses now at nearly $50 per  head, Sterling Marketing estimates. Those losses are $26 per head less than last year’s average losses of $76 per head. The beef cutout was up $5 at $245.23 per cwt.

Pork packers saw their margins decline about $3 per head, with profits now over $11 per head.

Cash prices for fed cattle are $27 per cwt. higher than last year, and negotiated hog prices are $2 per cwt. lower than last year.

Nalivka projects average cash profit margins for cow-calf producers at $743 per cow this year. Last year’s estimated average cow-calf margins were $556 per cow. 


Latest News

Winter cattle feeding
Cash Cattle Weaker As Grain Rallies

Cash cattle prices slipped lower throughout the week as packer demand was called moderate. Grain markets posted a significant rally on the heels of USDA's report on Tuesday.

2 hours ago
Packing plant workers
Fired Tyson Managers: ‘Betting Pool’ Stories Distorted

Former Tyson Foods Waterloo, Iowa, plant managers dispute claims of how an "office pool" regarding COVID-19 was portrayed in news stories and deny it was about how many employees would contract the virus.

1 hour ago
Dream Lake with Hallett Peak in the background, at Rocky Mountain National Park.
Hi-Plains Researchers To Help Protect Rocky Mountain National Park

A Texas A&M AgriLife team will work with the Colorado Livestock Association and other stakeholders to refine and evaluate practices to reduce agricultural ammonia emissions into Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park.

12 min ago
AL Ranch
Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. Launches “MBA NextGen”

MBA NextGen updates the popular MBA training modules making it easier than ever for a new generation of farmers and ranchers to share their story and advocate knowledgeably for the beef industry.

8 min ago
Greg Henderson
Overall Meat Sales Higher In 2020

Meat sales - both dollar values and volume - were significantly higher in 2020. Those gains, however, came at the expense of a crippled restaurant and food service industry that may take years to recover.

9 min ago
Progressive Beef
Progressive Beef and Wendy’s® Advance Partnership

Wendy's announces 15% increase in percentage of beef sourced through Progressive Beef-certified producers in 2020; on track to meet goal of at least 50% this year.

14 min ago