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Profit Tracker: Cattle Feeding Margins Top $200

Autumn’s fed cattle price rally has pushed average cattle feeding margins through the $200 per head barrier for the first time since well before the pandemic.

Cattle traded last week for a national average of $152.75 per cwt., the highest price in seven years, resulting in average profits of $207 per head, according to the Sterling Beef Profit Tracker. That’s $20 per head higher than the previous week. Profit margins may be up but so are the costs associated with finishing a steer.

Cattle placed on feed last week, however, are estimated to have a breakeven of $154.37 per cwt. That’s based on 750-800 lb. feeder steers at $179.01 per cwt., and feed costs of $597 per head. The feeder steer price is 14% higher than last year. The Beef and Pork Profit Trackers are calculated by Sterling Marketing, Vale, Oregon.

Estimated beef packer margins for the week ending Nov. 5 were $70 per head, up $4 per head from the previous week and down 90% from estimated margins a year ago of $674 per head. Last week’s Choice beef cutout averaged $258.95 per cwt., about $2 higher than the previous week and down $26 per cwt. (9%) from the same week a year ago.

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