Cattle feeding margins saw a $9 per head improvement the week ending Oct. 14, and average profits were estimated at $296 per head, according to the Sterling Beef Profit Tracker. Beef packer margins improved about $7 per head but remain about $75 per head underwater. The packer-feeder margin spread was $371 per head in favor of cattle feeders.
For the week ending Oct. 14, cash cattle prices averaged $184.89 per cwt., up about $1.91 per cwt. from the previous week. That price is 20% higher than last year’s $147.57 per cwt. cash price.
Wholesale beef prices posted an average of $297.14 per cwt., a $1.25 per cwt. gain from the previous week and a $6.90 decline the past month. The Beef and Pork Profit Trackers are calculated by Sterling Marketing, Vale, Ore.
Cattle sold last week carried a total feed cost of $518 per head, up about $8 per head from the previous week, and about $82 less than feed costs for cattle sold the same week a year ago.
Cattle marketed last week had a breakeven of $163.75 per cwt., while cattle placed on feed last week have a breakeven of $181.33 per cwt. Cattle placed last week are calculated to have a purchase price for 750-800 lb. feeder steers at $250.20 per cwt., and feed costs of $386.53 per head. The feeder steer price is 31% higher than last year.
The estimated total cost for finishing a steer last week was $2,292 per head, up 15% from last year’s estimate of $1,975 per head.
Fed cattle slaughter totaled an estimated 479,409 down 8,547 head from the previous week and 29,181 fewer than the same week last year. Packing plant capacity utilization was estimated at 86.4% compared to 96.8% last year.
Farrow-to-finish hog producers saw losses of $11 per head last week, a $3 per head improvement compared to the previous week. Pork producers saw profits of $6 per head the same week a year ago. Lean carcass prices averaged $75.96 per cwt., up $1.83 per cwt. from the previous week.
Pork packers closed the week with $25 per head profits, down $8 per head from the previous week. Last year pork packer margins were about $15 per head. Hog slaughter was estimated at 2.609 million head, up 47,000 head from the week before and up 54,000 head from last year.
Pork packer capacity utilization was estimated at 95.9% compared to 92.5% last year.