Cattle feeding margins improve, packers slip


Greg Henderson, Editor, Associate Publisher, Drovers CattleNetwork

Updated: December 28, 2012


Cattle feeding margins improved nearly $25 per head last week, leaving average losses at just over $55 per head, according to the Sterling Beef Profit Tracker. Margins have improved $85 over the past two weeks.


Beef packers saw their margins decline more than $15 per head on the week leaving losses at more than $59 per head. The Sterling Beef Profit Quotient improved 71 points for the week and the industry profitability index is now negative 183.2, according to estimates developed by Sterling Marketing, Inc., Vale, Ore. A month ago the Sterling Beef Profit Quotient was a negative 222.8...


A year ago cattle feeders sold cash cattle at $123 per hundredweight, resulting in losses of $20.30 per head. Last year cash hogs fetched $80.86 per hundredweight, resulting in losses of $11.78 per head.


The Sterling Beef and Pork Profit Trackers are calculated using actual weekly prices for both cattle and hogs, feed costs, beef and pork cutout prices, drop credits and other factors that influence profit margins.


The Sterling Beef Profit Tracker for the week ending Dec. 22:


    Average feedyard margins: -$55.70 per head.

    Average packer margins: -$59.00 per head.

    Sterling Profit Quotient: -183.2.