Forgive my ignorance, but if feeders have been losing that kind of money, how can they stay in business? I wonder if it really is that bad? I understand the closeouts are ugly, but how important are they when considering the cost of replacements? In my mind, as long as the lbs sold cover the cost to replace them (feed + vet + interest + death loss + replacement critter) then money was made, or at least cash flow was positive. Equity may have been lost, but that seems to rise and fall by the day. Positive cash flow seems to be more important. I guess if you are leveraged to the hilt to keep the yards full, equity is important to the banker? Not a great position to be in, but maybe that's more common than I realize.
At the bottom of this commentary they have current & projected closeouts:http://www.agcenter.com/newcattlereport.aspx
What I see is selling fats today for $1727, buying replacement cattle for $1100, and $518 in feed costs. That leaves $109 in the feeder's pocket for profit. That's not so bad, better than 13% APR if I figured it right on 150 day feeding period. I don't follow it close enough to know if that relationship stays the same or not though.