Farrow-to-finish margins declined to $75.67 the week of May 16, compared to $80.60 per head the previous week.  Last year at this time, margins were $2.54 per head. Lean hogs were down slightly to $111.19 per hundredweight last week, compared to $113.88 per hundredweight the week of May 9.

Pork packer margins improved last week to negative $2.41, compared to negative $8.94 the previous week. The pork cutout value was down to $113.16, compared to $115.41.

The feeder cattle rally continues with this week’s placements of 750-800 pound feeder steers hitting $188.35 per hundredweight, compared to $180.56 per hundredweight the previous week and $131.90 per hundredweight at this time last year. Feeder supplies are tight and expected to stay that way in the near future, barring redevelopment of widespread drought that could result in marketing calves earlier. The May Cattle on Feed report showed feedlot inventories down 1 percent compared to last year and marked the 21st consecutive month of lower feedlot inventories. Placements were also down in the latest report.

Fed cattle were down last week, to $146.76 compared to $148.78 the previous week. While fed cattle prices have declined from highs earlier this spring, compared to this time last year, fed cattle are bringing more than $21 per hundredweight more. It is expected that fed cattle prices will decline due to seasonal adjustments this summer. Feed costs declined from $383.19 the week of May 10 to $370.31 per head last week, but total costs increased to $1,961.81 per head, compared to $1,911.98 the previous week. The calculated breakeven price for this week’s feedlot placements, cattle that will be marketed in late September or early October, was $150.29 per hundredweight.

After topping $200 the week of May 10, feedlot margins dropped back to $188.66 per head last week. Last year at this time, cattle feeders were losing $94.29 per head. Packer margins improved slightly last week, from negative $47.49 per head the week of May 10 to negative $46.52 per head last week. A month ago, packers were losing nearly $60 per head but a year ago margins were $64.23 per head. The beef cutout value was down less than $1 to $222.75 per hundredweight, compared to $223.25 the previous week.

The Sterling Beef Profit Tracker for the week ending May 17:

  • Average feeder margins: $188.66 per head.
  • Average beef packer margins: -$46.52 per head.

The Sterling Pork Profit Tracker for the week ending May 16:                                          

  • Average farrow-to-finish margins: $75.67 per head.
  • Average pork packer margins: -$2.41 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.