Profit Tracker: Modest Profits Continue For Cattle And Hogs

Profit tracker
Profit tracker
(FJ)

Cattle and hog finishing margins are both positive for the fifth consecutive week.

Cattle feeding margins posted average profits of $41 per head last week, $95 per head less than the previous week. Cash prices for fed cattle declined nearly $3 per cwt. on average to $104 per cwt., but margins held positive due to significantly lower feeder cattle prices calculated in closeouts, according to the Sterling Beef Profit Tracker.

Cattle marketed last week were purchased last spring at prices diminished significantly by the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. Feeder steer prices factored into last week’s Profit Tracker were $129.31 per cwt., which is $12.30 per cwt. lower than last year. Those lower feeder cattle prices produced an average breakeven of $101.50 for cattle marketed last week. The previous week’s breakeven price was  $97 per cwt., and a year ago the breakeven was $112 per cwt. A year ago cattle feeders lost an average of $25 per head.

Packer margins declined $10 per head last week, though profits remain at $257 per head. Last week’s beef cutout price averaged $206 per cwt., a decline of $3 per cwt.

Feedyard margins reported by the Sterling Profit Tracker, Sterling Marketing, Vale, Ore., are calculated on a cash basis only with no adjustment for risk management practices.

(Note: The Beef and Pork Profit Trackers are intended only as a benchmark for the average cash costs of feeding cattle and hogs.)

Sterling Marketing projects 2020 feedyard margins to average $10 profit per head, while annual packer profits are projected at $314 per head. Cash cow-calf margins for 2020 are projected at $57 per calf.

Farrow-to-finish pork producers have seen their margins improve this fall with rising lean carcass prices.  Last week saw average closeouts post $20 per head profits, about steady with the previous week, and $2 per head less than a month ago.

Lean hog carcass prices traded at $66.21 per cwt., $0.08 per cwt. less than the previous week. Lean carcass prices are $0.28 per cwt. higher than a month ago, and $9.27 higher than the same week a year ago. A year ago pork producers lost an average of $16 per head.

Pork packers saw average profits of $59 per head last week, about steady with the previous week.

Sterling Marketing projects 2020 annual per head losses for pork producers at $18 per head, while projected packer profits are $59 per head.

(Editor’s note: Sterling Marketing is a private, independent beef and pork consulting firm not associated with any packing company or livestock feeding enterprise.)

Related stories:

Cash Cattle Lower, COF Inventory Higher

 

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