Margins slip further into the red for farrow-to-finish producers, having lost another $3.42 per head by the close of last week. Meanwhile, packer margins, while still reporting a loss, have improved by $2.93 per head from the week before.

Producer profit margins recorded at a $4.02-per-head loss for the week ending May 11, according to Sterling Marketing, Vale, Ore. That compares to a $0.60-per-head-loss the week before and an impressive $24.20-per-head profit for the same week in 2011. Feed costs and total costs are both running about $2 higher than for the same time a year ago.  

Packer margins are continuing to recover. Packers reported a per-head loss of $0.17 for the week ending May 11 versus a $3.10 loss the week before and a $0.94 profit for the same week in 2011.

Western Corn Belt negotiated hog prices slipped a bit more, reported at $78.96 per hundredweight for the week of May 11, compared to $79.32 for the previous week and $83.06 last year. Pork cutout values were up a bit at $79.32 versus $78.22 a week earlier.

Sterling Marketing provides the Sterling Pork and Beef Profit Trackers, which are calculated using actual weekly prices for hogs and cattle, feed costs, pork and beef cutout prices, drop credits and other factors that influence profit margins.

The Sterling Pork Profit Tracker for the week ending May 11:

• Average farrow-to-finish margins: -$4.02 per head
• Average pork packer margins: -$0.60 per head

Cattle feeding margins gained back some of their recent losses, reported at a $61.89-per-head loss for the week ending May 12. That compares with a negative $101.95 per head the week before and a $98.45 profit for the same week in 2011, the Sterling Beef Tracker reports.

Beef packer margins gave back some gains, but reported a $13.49-per-head profit by the close of May 12. Packers had a $27.27-per-head profit the previous week, and a $26.30-per-head loss one year ago.

Cash fed cattle prices held nearly steady on the week at $119.90 per hundredweight. That’s $7.90 per hundredweight higher than for the same week in 2011.

The Sterling Beef Profit Tracker for the week ending May 12:

• Average feedyard margins: -$611.89 per head
• Average packer margins: $13.49 per head
• Sterling Profit Quotient: -184.2.

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