Prices Head Upward for Pork Producers

Farrow-to-finish pork producers earned an average of $6 per head last week, an improvement of $3 per head from the previous week. Lean carcass prices traded at $61.26, an improvement of $0.68 per cwt. from the previous week. A year ago pork producers lost an average of $10 per head. Pork packer margins totaled $39 per head last week, steady with the week before.

Cash prices for fed cattle are $3 higher than the same week a year ago. Lean hog prices are about $8 per cwt. higher than last year.

Sterling Marketing president John Nalivka projects cash profit margins for cow-calf producers in 2017 will average $143 per cow. That would be $34 per head less than the estimated average profit of $177 for 2016. Estimated average cow-calf margins were $438 per cow in 2015.

For feedyards, Nalivka projects an average profit of $232 per head in 2017, which compares favorably with average losses of $4.25 per head in 2016. Nalivka expects packer margins to average about $119 per head in 2017, up from $114 in 2016.

For farrow-to-finish pork producers, Nalivka projects 2017 profit margins to average $20 per head, compared to $5 per head last year. Pork packers are projected to earn $25 per head in 2017, up slightly from $24 profit per head in 2016.