Profit Tracker: Cattle Feeding Margins Slowly Improve


Greg Henderson, Drovers 

July 29, 2020


Cattle feeding losses were estimated at $141 per head the week ending July 24, according to the Sterling Beef Profit Tracker. Negotiated cash cattle prices averaged $97.92 per cwt. on the week, about $1 higher than the previous week.


Packer margins were estimated at $302 per head, about $3 less than the previous week. The Choice beef cutout price averaged $200 per cwt., about $1 per cwt. higher than the previous week.


Feedyard margins reported by the Sterling Profit Tracker are calculated on a cash basis only with no adjustment for risk management practices.


A year ago cattle feeders found cash profits of $49 per head on closeouts the third week of July, while packers saw profits of $150. (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 73% of the cost of finishing a steer compared to 70% 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 $6, with $57 per head losses. Lean carcass prices traded at $33.24 per cwt. A year ago pork producers earned $32 per head profit. Pork packers...