Feedlot returns ‘pretty healthy’ through year end

Higher feeder cattle prices to pressure margins by December.

Krissa Welshans, Livestock Editor

July 18, 2023

1 Min Read
Feedlot feed bunk cattle.jpeg

Cattle leaving the yard from June through November are projected to have pretty healthy net returns, according to Kansas State University economist Glynn Tonsor. Net returns projected for closeouts in June are $269.48/head and $253.21/head for steers and heifers, respectively. However, those returns are not expected to last forever. 

“What happens as we progress is there is a slow uptick in expected fed cattle price, but there is a much faster increase in the projected feeder cattle price,” Tonsor said. While input prices may come down slightly, he explained that higher feeder cattle prices will hurt margins as Christmas nears. Even so, steer and heifer closeouts in December are expected to be $158.96/head and $68.66/head, respectively.

From there, Tonsor’s projections suggest returns will turn negative with losses of $10.23/head for steers and $51.58/head for heifers in January. Steer returns will return to the black in February, but heifer returns are expected to stay negative for a few months.

K State feedlot returns.png

About the Author(s)

Krissa Welshans

Livestock Editor

Krissa Welshans grew up on a crop farm and cow-calf operation in Marlette, Michigan. Welshans earned a bachelor’s degree in animal science from Michigan State University and master’s degree in public policy from New England College. She and her husband Brock run a show cattle operation in Henrietta, Texas, where they reside with their son, Wynn.

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