Pork producer margins took a turn for the worse, dropping $13.96 per head last week compared with the week before. Packer margins continue to gain ground, having nearly doubled from the profits for the previous week.   

Farrow-to-finish producers lost an average $23.33 per head for the week ending Nov. 9, according to Sterling Marketing, Vale, Ore.  In recent weeks, producer losses had started to grow, with margins reported $9.37-per-head in the red for the week ending Nov. 2. One year ago, margins were $7.65-per-head on the plus side.

Last week’s hog slaughter came in at 2.367 million head, up 0.3 percent from the week before and up 2.6 percent compared to a year ago. This week’s slaughter will be light due to Veterans’ Day on Monday. Market hog live weights remain light, which suggest producers are current in their supplies. Iowa-Minnesota barrow/gilt live weights averaged 272.1 pounds last week. That’s down 0.7 pounds from the previous week earlier and down 2.6 pounds from a year ago. As Ron Plain, University of Missouri agricultural economist points out, last week was the sixth consecutive week with weights running lighter than a year ago.

Feed costs actually slipped a bit from the week before, reported at $130.81 for hogs placed into finishing as of Nov. 9.  Hog prices were down slightly at $81.01 per hundredweight versus $82.26 on Nov. 2.

Packer profits nearly doubled, reported at $8.99 per head, compared to $4.91 the week before. Sterling Marketing reports that for the same period in November in 2011, packers were averaging a profit of $9.66 per head.    

The Sterling Pork Profit Tracker for the week ending Nov. 9:

  • Average farrow-to-finish margins: -$23.33 per head
  • Average pork packer margins: $8.99 per head

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.

Cattle feedlot losses had been showing a bit of a recovery, but dropped again last week. Losses averaged $86.97 per head for the week ending Nov. 10. That compares to $32.68 per head the week before and a $48.71-per-head profit for the same week in 2011.

Beef packer margins dropped another $12.11 per head to a loss of $88.59 per head. Sterling marketing reports beef packers lost $76.48 per head for the week ending Nov. 3; one year ago, losses averaged $49.50.

The Sterling Beef Profit Tracker for the week ending Nov. 10:

  • Average feedyard margins: -$87.97 per head
  • Average packer margins: -$88.59 per head
  • Sterling Profit Quotient: -288.1

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.