After more than a month in the red, feedlot margins continued to struggle the week ending February 21, according to the Sterling Beef Profit Tracker. Feedlots lost $105 per head last week – a nearly $359 swing since last year at this time when feedlots were earning nearly $254 per head.

Fed cattle were also lower on the week, with the 5-Area direct price for live cattle falling to $159.04 per hundredweight last week, compared to $161.74 the previous week. While down from the high point of more than $170, fed cattle are still nearly $13 per hundredweight higher than last year at this time. Feeder steers weighing between 750 and 800 pounds were up last week, reaching $207.35 compared to $204.81 the previous week. Last week’s breakeven for placements was $157.51 per hundredweight, up from $156 the previous week, according to John Nalivka.

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