Profit Tracker: Cattle, Hog Margins In The Red

Feeding margins declined
Feeding margins declined

Average cattle feeding margins declined $60 per head last week, leaving closeouts at negative $17. Over the previous month cattle feeding margins had shown modest profits. Industry-wide average cash cattle prices declined about $2 per cwt. last week to $109 and average per head feed costs increased about $35 per head, according to the Sterling Beef Profit Tracker.

The total cost for finishing a steer marketed last week was $1,500, about $50 less than the same week a year ago.  Cash cattle prices were $15 per cwt. higher a year ago and produced profits of about $137 per head the second full week of January 2020. This year feeder cattle represent 66% of the cost of finishing a steer compared with 72% a year ago.

Beef packer margins posted $49 per head gains to a weekly average of $206 per head. Packer margins the same week a year ago were $38 per head. Improving packer margins corresponds with a $4 per cwt. gain in wholesale beef prices to $209, which is down about 12% from the $238 per cwt. reported the week ending Dec. 4. The Beef and Pork Profit Trackers are calculated by Sterling Marketing Inc., Vale, Ore.

Farrow-to-finish pork producers saw their margins improve $2 per head but remain in the red at $6 per head. Lean carcass prices traded at $55.88 per cwt., $1.47 higher than the previous week, and $2.61 lower than a month ago. A year ago pork producers lost an average of $11 per head. Pork packer margins averaged a profit of $42 per head last week, about steady with the previous week.

Sterling Marketing president John Nalivka projects cash profit margins for cow-calf producers in 2021 will average $123 per cow. For feedyards, Nalivka projects an average profit of $43 per head in 2021, and packer margins are projected to average $251 per head.

For farrow-to-finish pork producers, Nalivka projects 2021 will produces losses of $13 per head. Pork packers are projected to earn $37 per head in 2021.


Latest News

Wholesale Beef Higher, But Cash Cattle Struggle

Beef packers continued to maintain their strangle-hold on the market this week. Rising boxed beef cutout prices will pad packer profits – likely to exceed $400 per head.

What Technology Would Catch Your Eye If You Won the Lottery?

The latest Drovers Pulse Poll found calf care would take the top priority if cost wasn’t an issue.

Biden’s Top Trade Pick Vows to Stay Tough on China

Congress got a clearer view of President Biden’s trade agenda this week as the Senate Finance Committee questioned Katherine Tai, Biden's nominee to serve as the United States Trade Representative.

Effects of Transporting Cattle on Auction Prices

Researchers at Kansas State University analyzed 211 livestock video auctions and determined that trucking distance has an effect on the price that buyers are willing to pay.

Targeted Online Learning on Biosecurity

To further support cattle producers across the country the Beef Checkoff-funded Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) program has released the first in a series of Advanced Education Modules.

Beyond Meat Clinches Coveted Deals with Mcdonald's, Yum Brands

Plant-based meat maker Beyond Meat said on Thursday it has signed multi-year supply deals with McDonald’s Corp and Taco Bell owner Yum! Brands Inc.