Cattle feeding margins improved $103 per head last week as cash fed cattle prices jumped $4 per hundredweight to $123 in southern feedlots. Northern feedlots sold cattle $6 to $7 higher at $125 to $126, and dressed cattle sold mostly at $202 per hundredweight.

Despite the dramatic improvement in margins, feedlots still lost an average of $20 per head last week, according to the Sterling Beef Profit Tracker. Packer margins improved $8 per head, leaving packers with losses of $30 for each animal processed. The Sterling Beef Profit Quotient gained 312 points for the week, according to estimates developed by Sterling Marketing Inc., Vale, Ore.

Boxed beef prices averaged $184.35 per hundredweight on Friday, a gain of $3.10 from the previous Friday.