Profit Tracker: Ugly Trend Continues

The packer/feeder margin spread narrowed $67 per head


Greg Henderson, Drovers 

October 3, 2019


Improvements in feedlot margins were ever so slight last week due to a $1 gain in cash cattle prices. Still, feedlots lost $154 per head on average, about $10 less than losses the previous week. Packer margins tallied $330 per head, $57 less than two weeks ago. The combination resulted in a modest narrowing of the packer/feeder margin spread to $484, according to the Sterling Beef Profit Tracker.


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


Feeder cattle represent 72% of the cost of finishing a steer compared to 74% a year ago.


The Beef and Pork Profit Trackers are calculated by Sterling Marketing Inc., Vale, Ore.


Farrow-to-finish pork producers saw their margins improve $5 per head with average losses of $23. Lean carcass prices traded at $50 per cwt., $2.703 per cwt. higher than the previous week. A year ago pork producer margins were negative $0.03 per head. Pork packers saw average profits of $35 per head, steady with the previous week.


Sterling Marketing president John Nalivka projects cash profit margins for cow-calf producers in 2019 will average $124 per cow. That would be 13% lower...


more, including links to Sterling Beef & Pork Profit Trackers