Cattle feeders enjoying a hot run

Livestock Marketing Information Center says no month currently projected to be negative in 2023.

May 8, 2023

1 Min Read
cattle in livestock auction barn
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April cattle feeding returns calculated by the Livestock Marketing Information Center (LMIC) soared over $300 per head in April as live steers in the 5-area recorded record-breaking highs at mid-month. Live steer prices hit a new daily high of $182.86/cwt., more than $10 higher than the previous daily high of $172.08/cwt. that was recorded back in late November 2014. Nearly all of April recorded prices above that previous record, LMIC said.

The monthly simple average calculated in Dodge City (price used in the LMIC calculation) for Choice fed steers was $173.43/cwt., equivalent to what feedlots were paying for 700-800-pound steers seven months prior. LMIC calculates a breakeven price at time of placement, which was estimated at $149.96/cwt.

“Cattle feeders are enjoying a hot run, seeing profitability exceed $100 per head in the last three months. Higher fed cattle prices are contributing significantly to that bottom line, but additionally feed costs have come down slightly, and April’s calculation is based off a feeder steer price that dipped $6 from the month before,” LMIC noted.

Dodge City 700-800-pound steers averaged $195.26/cwt. in April, exceeding breakeven projections to just under $160/cwt. LMIC said current prices are still over that value but have faded more than $10 from the high in mid-April.

“Seasonally, fed cattle prices should be hitting a bottom, and with higher placements than the industry expected, this fall live cattle market may not be as tight as originally expected.”

Still, LMIC said cattle feeders are expected to have an excellent year, with no month currently projected to be negative in 2023. LMIC estimates the average returns for cattle feeders will be over $200 per head in 2023. Through April, cattle feeding returns have averaged $175 per head monthly.

 

 

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