Profit Tracker: Cattle, Hog Margins Steady
Cattle feeders saw closeouts gain an average of $7 per head last week, leaving average profits at $95 per head, according to the Sterling Beef Profit Tracker.
Average cash fed cattle prices were steady at $109, and packer profit margins improved $67 per head to $439. The beef cutout gained $10 per head to end the week at $231 per cwt. The cost of finishing a steer last week was calculated at $1,391, which is $9 lower than the $1,400 a year ago. The Beef and Pork Profit Trackers are calculated by Sterling Marketing Inc., Vale, Ore.
A year ago cattle feeders were earning $24 per head. Feeder cattle represent 69% of the cost of finishing a steer compared with 73% a year ago.
Farrow-to-finish pork producers saw their margins remain steady at $9 per head. Lean carcass prices traded at $60.60 per cwt., $1.26 per cwt. lower than the previous week, and $5.61 lower than a month ago. A year ago pork producers lost an average of $43 per head. Pork packer margins averaged a profit of $33 per head last week, down $6 from the previous week.
Sterling Marketing president John Nalivka projects cash profit margins for cow-calf producers in 2020 will average $51 per cow. For feedyards, Nalivka projects an average profit of $10 per head in 2020, and packer margins are projected to average $281 per head.
For farrow-to-finish pork producers, Nalivka projects 2020 will produces losses of $18 per head. Pork packers are projected to earn $48 per head in 2020.