Unlike cattle markets, which finished lower on the week, farrow-to-finish margins increased last week to $54.12 per head compared to $47.75 per head the previous week, according to the latest Sterling Profit Tracker data. Last month, margins were $40.32 per head, and last year they were $13.51.  

Lean hogs were up again last week, finishing the week ending September 19 at $106.46 per hundredweight, compared to $103.81 the previous week. Last month, lean hogs were bringing $99.72 and last year at this time they were earning $97.14.

Pork packer margins climbed out of the red last week, increasing to $4.48 per head, compared to negative $1.95 the previous week. Last month, pork packers were earning nearly $11 per head. The pork cutout value increased again last week, to $111.49, compared to $105.81 the previous week.

What goes up, must come down. That was the case for feedlot margins last week. After increasing for three consecutive weeks, feedlot margins finished the week ending Sept. 20 at $186.37 per head, down more than $45 from the previous week, according to the latest data from the Sterling Profit Tracker. While lower week-over-week, feedlot margins are more than $143 higher per head than they were last year at this time.

Fed cattle also took a turn south last week, ending at $157.57, compared to $160.47 per hundredweight the previous week. Fed cattle, despite being down last week, are still enjoying a more than $33 per hundredweight advantage compared to prices earned last year at this time. Though feeders were also down last week, they took less of a hit, falling just 31 cents to $226.88 per hundredweight. At this time last year, feeders were bringing $156.38. The breakeven price for last week’s feedlot placements was $167.12, compared to $127.08 at this time last year.

Volatility continued with packer margins last week, falling from $12.50 per head to negative $11.09 last week. Last month at this time, packers were earning more than $120 per head. The beef cutout value was nearly $5 lower last week at $242.75 per hundredweight.

The Sterling Beef Profit Tracker for the week ending August September 20:

  • Average feeder margins: $186.37 per head
  • Average beef packer margins: -$11.09 per head

The Sterling Pork Profit Tracker for the week ending September 19:

  • Average farrow-to-finish margins: $54.12 per head.
  • Average pork packer margins: $4.48 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.