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Cattle Margins Near $300; Pork Margins at $50

Cattle Margins Near $300; Pork Margins at $50

Negotiated cash cattle sold at steady prices last week and feedyard margins gained $7 per head for an industry average profit of $291. Meanwhile, beef packers saw their margins erode another $30 per head to average losses of $138 per head, according to the Sterling Beef Profit Tracker. That puts the margin spread at $429 per head in favor of the feeder.

Cash cattle averaged $186.39 per cwt. the week ending May 11, while composite wholesale beef prices posted $1.28 per cwt. losses to close at $297.43 per cwt. The Beef and Pork Profit Trackers are calculated by Sterling Marketing, Vale, Ore.

Cattle sold last week carried a total feed cost of $384.21 per head, up $1.49 per head from the previous week, and about $186 less than feed costs for cattle sold the same week a year ago.

Cattle marketed last week had a breakeven of $165.57 per cwt., while cattle placed on feed last week have a breakeven of $178.75 per cwt., which is about $4 per cwt. lower than the previous week. Cattle placed last week are calculated to have a purchase price for 750-800 lb. feeder steers at $248.98 per cwt., or $7 per cwt. less than a month ago. The feeder steer price is 18% higher than last year.

The estimated total cost for finishing a steer last week was $2,318 per head, down $6 per head from the previous week and up 9% from last year’s estimate of $2,114 per head.

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