Pork Producer Margins Will Struggle In 2019

Piglets ( Jo WIndmann )

Margins for pork producers are suffering, and there’s little relief in sight. That’s according to projections from Sterling Marketing, Inc., Vale, Ore.

Pork producers lost an average of $11.77 per hog during January, and an average of $5.56 during February. Sterling president John Nalivka says those losses will reach an average of $14.07 per hog during March.

Each week Sterling Marketing provides calculations for both beef and pork margins published here. Those margin calculations also provide insight into packer margins for both industries.

So far in 2019, beef producer margins have shown good profits. January cattle feeding margins showed profits of $92.18 per head, while February profits totaled $96.82 per head.

Nalivka projects pork producer margins will be positive for only three months during 2019 – May, June and July. His analysis – updated monthly – shows losses of $16.71 in April, followed by profits of $1.49 in May, $24.39 in June, and $15.30 in July. The remaining six months of 2019 are negative. Based on his monthly projections, Nalivka sees an average annual loss of $4.74 per head for pork producers.

For beef producers, Nalivka sees peak profits of $128.37 in May. He projects an annual average profit of $53.03 for cattle feeders in 2019.

Pork packers will see annual average profits of $17.76, according to Nalivka’s projections. He expects beef packers will see annual average profits of $149.71 per head during 2019.

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