Pork producer margins declined $2.36 per head last week from the previous week, but farrow-to-finish margins remain solidly profitable at more than $11 per head. That compares with margins one year ago at $21.80 per head.

Pork packer margins declined $2.74 per head, resulting in losses of more than $12 per head, according to the Sterling Pork Profit Tracker. A year ago, packer margins were $17.36 on the plus-side.

Last week, Western Corn Belt negotiated hog prices were $85.99 per hundredweight. One year ago, cash hogs fetched $84.03 per hundredweight. Feed costs and total costs were both running $1 higher compared to year-ago levels.

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

The Sterling Pork Profit Tracker for the week ending March 24:

  • Average farrow-to-finish margins: $11.18 per head.
  • Average pork packer margins: -$12.37 per head.

Cattle feeding margins declined nearly $17 per head last week and packer margins dropped another $5 per head as boxed beef prices were $1.50 per hundredweight softer for the week. Average feeding profits, according to the Sterling Beef Profit Tracker, remain near $23 per head, but packer losses now exceed $60 for every animal processed. The Sterling Beef Profit Quotient declined 52 points for the week, according to estimates developed by Sterling Marketing.

Cash fed cattle traded at $125.61 per hundredweight last week. A year ago, cattle feeders sold cash cattle at $113.20 per hundredweight which resulted in profits of $176.93 per head.

The Sterling Beef Profit Tracker for the week ending March 24:

  • Average feedyard margins: $22.93 per head.
  • Average packer margins: -$60.80 per head.
  • Sterling Profit Quotient: 53.5.

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.