For the third consecutive week, feedlot margins pushed higher, according to the latest data from the Sterling Profit Tracker. Margins finished the week ending September 13 at $231.57 per head, compared to $222.04 per head the previous week. At this time last year, feedlot operators were losing $29 per head.

Fed cattle were slightly lower last week, decreasing to $160.47 per hundredweight from the previous week’s $161.31 per hundredweight. In mid-August, fed cattle were hovering around $155 while they were earning $123 per hundredweight at this time last year. Feeder calves increased last week, finishing the week at $227.19 compared to $219.28 the previous week and $153.71 at this time last year. The breakeven price for last week’s feedlot placements stood at $167.67 compared to $126 at this time last year.

Packer margins decreased again last week, falling to $12.29 per head, compared to $30.15 the previous week. Despite falling from highs well above $100 per head earlier this summer, packer margins haven’t fallen into the red like they were last year at this time. The beef cutout value increased last week to $247.63, up from $244.48 the previous week but lower than last month’s $255.63.

Farrow-to-finish margins increased last week to $47.75 per head compared to $33.49 per head the previous week, according to the latest Sterling Profit Tracker data. Last month, margins were $61.74 per head, and last year they were less than $13 per head.

Lean hogs were up again last week, finishing the week ending September 12 at $103.81 per hundredweight, compared to $97.68 the previous week. Last month, lean hogs were bringing nearly $110 per hundredweight, and last year they were earning $95.10

Pork packer margins slipped into negative territory last week, falling to negative $1.95, compared to $4.54 the previous week. Last month, pork packers were earning $7.23 per head, while they were losing $2.94 at this time last year. The pork cutout value increased again last week, to $105.81, compared to $102.67 the previous week.

The Sterling Beef Profit Tracker for the week ending August September 13:

  • Average feeder margins: $231.57 per head
  • Average beef packer margins: $12.29 per head

The Sterling Pork Profit Tracker for the week ending September 12:

  • Average farrow-to-finish margins: $47.75 per head.
  • Average pork packer margins: -$1.95 per head.

The Sterling Beef and Pork Profit Trackers are produced by Sterling Marketing Inc. and John Nalivka, president, Vale, Ore., and are published weekly by Drovers/CattleNetwork, and PorkNetwork.