Profit Tracker: Feeding Margins Continue Decline


Greg Henderson, Drovers†

March 18, 2020


Based on average cash sales of $108.77 for the week ending March 15, cattle feeders lost an average of $90 per head on a cash basis. Thatís roughly $150 lower than the $62 profit found the previous week. Packer margins were calculated at $175 per head the week ending March 15, an increase of $34, according to the Sterling Beef Profit Tracker.


Cash cattle prices were $4 lower than the previous week, and $10 lower than the previous month.


The packer/feeder margin spread for the week ending March 15 was $265 per head in favor of packers.


A year ago cattle feeders found cash profits of $70 per head on closeouts the second week in March, while packers saw profits of $121. (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 71% of the cost of finishing a steer compared to 72% 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 nearly $8 per head, yet losses remain at $7. Lean carcass prices traded at $55.65 per cwt., $4.06 per cwt. higher than the previous week. A year ago pork producers were losing $12 per head. Pork packers saw average profits of $20 per head, steady with the previous week.


Sterling Marketing president John Nalivka projects cow-calf profit margins of $142 per cow in 2020...


more, including links to Sterling Beef & Pork Profit Trackers