This article presents estimated net returns of cattle finishing operations as of May 11, 2021. The calculation and projection process was updated in July of 2012.1 This process reflects a cash market situation without price risk management strategies being implemented. Each month updates are made to reflect the most recent feedlot closeout estimates and to reflect current market conditions.
The most recent Focus on Feedlots survey provides information on lots closed out in March of 2021. As shown in figures 1 and 2, steers and heifers were estimated to be sold in March at -$69.52/hd and -$61.18/hd, respectively.
Given the one-month lag in Focus on Feedlots survey information, market information is available for April of 2021 but realized animal performance data are not yet available. Currently, the net returns projected for closeouts in April are -$39.01/hd and $2.77/hd for steers and heifers, respectively (tables 1 and 2). Tables 1 and 2 also present projected net returns for closeouts over the next nine months based on forecasts of both animal performance and market prices. Included tables also include the projected and breakeven values for cattle prices and cost of gain which provide further insight into the sensitivity underlying these projections. Producers are encouraged to carefully compare their own costs and prices with those reported here. Finally, historical and breakeven values are provided in chart format revealing trends over time in fed cattle sales prices (figures 3 and 4), cost of gain (figures 5 and 6), and feeder cattle purchase prices (figures 7 and 8).
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