Most cow-calf operations will be profitable in 2010, according to the Livestock Marketing Information Center's (LMIC) report Friday. Projections call for returns of $26/head this year, compared to losses of $32 and $16/head in 2009 and 2008, respectively.

“Although production costs in 2010 were slightly less than the last two years, net returns continue to be pressured in 2010 as input costs still remain rather high compared to historical norms,” LMIC analysts say.

Since the early 1970s, LMIC has estimated cash returns over cash costs plus pasture rent for a typical Southern Plains commercial cow-calf operation.

Looking ahead to 2011, LMIC analysts estimate cow-calf operations will remain positive, but returns could moderate some compared to 2010, depending on calf prices and input costs.