Feedlot and packer margins during the week ended Dec, 21 held nearly steady with the previous week, according to Sterling Marketing’s Beef Profit Tracker, published by AgWeb.
For the week, the margins for unhedged feedlots that week was a plus $30.89 a head, down $0.65, or 2.06%, from $31.54 the previous week and down $7.25, or 19.0%, from $38.14 a month earlier. The margin also was $17.38, or 36.0%, below the $48.27 positive margin in the same week a year earlier.
Beef packers had an estimated margin of $141.42 a head that week, up $3.92, or 2.85%, from $137.50 a week earlier but down $54.42, or 27.8%, from $195.84 a month earlier. The latest calculated margin was up $118.14, or 507.5%, from $23.28 a head a year earlier.
FEEDING COSTS CLIMBING
The Sterling Beef Profit Tracker estimates showed that average total costs associated with turning feeder cattle into slaughter-ready fed cattle climbed to $1,600.37 a head for cattle sold to packers, or marketed, during the week ended Dec. 21.
That was up $10.03 a head, or 0.63%, from $1,590.34 for cattle marketed the previous week and up $41.11, or 2.64%, from $1,559.26 for cattle sent to slaughter a month earlier. For slaughter cattle sent to the packers a year earlier, total costs were estimated at $1,594.55 a head, making the latest figures up $5.82, or 0.36%.
The average cost for the feeder cattle that were sold to packers as finished cattle in the latest week was calculated from the Oklahoma City, OK, auction at $151.67 per cwt. This was up $2.15, or 1.44%, from $149.52 for fed cattle marketed the previous week and up $6.37, or 4.38%, from $145.30 for marketings a month earlier. The latest cost also was up $1.45, or 0.97%, from $150.22 a year earlier.
The estimated cost of feed for cattle sold to packers in the week ended Dec. 21 was $264.66 per head, down $7.13, or 2.62%, from $271.79 for the marketings of a week earlier and off $9.93, or 3.62%, from the $274.59 for cattle sold to packers a month earlier. Feed costs even were down $9.31, or 3.40%, from $273.97 a year ago.
That all made total costs for the latest week’s feedlot marketings come to $1,600.37 a head, up $1,590.34 a week earlier, up from 1,559.26 a month earlier and up from $1,594.55 a year earlier.
The breakeven price feedlots need for cattle marketed the week ended Dec. 21 was $116.72 per cwt, up from $115.98 a week earlier and from $113.70 a month earlier. It also was up from the year-earlier breakeven of $116.29 per cwt.
ESTIMATED PLACEMENT COSTS DOWN
The total estimated cost for feed and feeder steers placed on feed during the week ended Dec. 21 was $1,554.59 a head, up from $1,511.63 a week earlier but down from $1,570.74 for month-earlier placements. However, the latest cost was down from $1,690.90 a year earlier.
CATTLE, BEEF RECAP
Cash cattle traded Thursday at $123 per cwt on a live basis in the Plains, unchanged from last week. No dressed-basis trades have been reported, but changed hands last week at $195, up $5.
The USDA choice cutout Thursday was down $0.15 per cwt at $216.49, while select was off $1.53 at $209.38. The choice/select spread widened to $7.11 from $5.73 with 126 loads of fabricated product sold into the spot market.
The CME Feeder Cattle index for the seven days ended Wednesday, was $146.06 per cwt, up $1.57. This compares with Thursday’s Jan settlement of $147.95, down $0.90.