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Welcome to the first full report of 2023. Thanks for bearing with me as I traveled and was unable to crunch the data for a full report until later in the month. With that being said I will take a longer termed view for this week’s report, but all prices reported are from sales that occurred this week 1/16-1/20. Overall the the Midwest sheep and goat market seemed to pop at the first of the year like it typically does. The overall boost to the market did not seem as strong as it has the last several years, but still higher than the December market. Now for the past few weeks the market has been playing defense and trying to protect those prices. Unfortunately this week only prime slaughter lambs seem to be able to hold that line or move $10-$15/cwt higher this week as compared to earlier in the year. Goats held mostly firm on all classes of feeder and slaughter stock, but the $400+/cwt quotes are much fewer and further apart than they were last year. Cull stock both for sheep and goats doesn’t seem to have the same strength it had a year ago, but is holding and not dropping. The good news is commercial lamb slaughter is off to a stronger pace than last year and weights are well below a year ago. So that should help keep prime product in the front of the customer and not let livestock back up. Going against the market this week was a fairly sizeable winter storm that hit areas in Nebraska with as much as 24” of snow. Several other small snow incidents are expected through the end of January across the high plains. In the long run this helps to fight the drought that caused so many issues last year. On the other side of the coin it keeps feeders from wanting to buy new livestock as travel conditions and pen conditions are poor. Plus livestock conversion on feed is much poorer in cold and snowy conditions. That is not a good combination in a winter with tight feed supplies.
2023 ethnic holidays that may help to give a boost to the market include; Ramadan month of fasting from March 22nd to April 20th, Passover April 5th, Roman Easter is April 9th and Orthodox Easter is April 16th.
Highlighted quotes this week include Centennial Livestock in Colorado selling 33 head of 92 lb slaughter lambs for $210/cwt or $193/hd. Centennial also sold 52 head of 103 lb goat wethers for $249/cwt or $256.50/hd average. The upper end of the draft brought $280/cwt or $288/hd. Kalona Iowa sold 1 feeder lamb weighing 61 lbs for $305/cwt or $186/hd. (Thought it was interesting a single topped the 60lb market) Kalona also sold 197 head of 123lb slaughter lambs for $133/cwt or $164/hd. The upper end of the draft sold for $170/cwt or $209/hd. Kalona sold 35 head of young 1-2 yr old wool ewes for weighing 124 lbs for $281/hd average. The upper end of the ewes brought $300/hd. Sioux Falls Regional livestock sold 44 head of 81 lb slaughter lambs for $192.50/hd or $156/hd. Sioux Falls also sold 181 head of 4-6 yr old running age ewes weighing for 180 lbs for $208/hd average. Upper end sold for $280/hd. Producers livestock in San Angelo Texas sold 108 head of hair lambs weighing 46 lbs for $269/cwt or $124/hd. The upper end of the draft brought $283/cwt or $130/hd. Producers also sold 79 head of 93 lb slaughter hair lambs for $207/cwt or $193/hd. Producers sold 38 head of open young 2-4 yr old does weighing 87 lbs for $183/hd Hamilton Commission Company in Texas sold lightweight kids up to $450/cwt. Colby Livestock in Colby Kansas sold 7 head of 55 lb hair lambs for $260/cwt or $143/hd. Colby also sold 6 head of slaughter wool lambs weighing 91 lbs for $235/cwt or $214/hd. Colby also sold 4 head of 63 lb slaughter goats for $285/cwt or $180/hd.
USDA retail meat data for the week of January 13th (report that was available at the time of writing this report.) For the week the Lamb retail activity index was 15.60% lower, feature rate 3.60% lower, and the special rate was 2.20% lower. Lamb Cuts reported 30.06% lower. For the week no Roast ads were reported, and Chops ad space was 17.85% higher. Lamb features offered more ad space for Shoulder Round Bone Chops.
The grain markets were mixed early in the week and lower through the end of the week. 2023 seems to be shaping up for less of a bull market for grains than last year. From a supply and demand perspective the story is different than last year. Argentina is still suffering from extreme drought, but Brazil is experiencing a better growing season. USDA and CONAB are both expecting Brazil to have a near record crop for corn and soybeans. That helps to offset the supply issues of 2022. On the demand side of the equation there is hope that China will increase consumption of raw commodities with their economy finally recovering from covid. There is also concern for another year of limited supply likely to come from the Black Sea with the ongoing war in Ukraine. That could drive some new demand to the US, especially with the US dollar starting to move lower.
The haymarket in Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa, South Dakota, Colorado and Wyoming were reported mostly steady with where they have been over the last few months. With that being said trade volume seems to be light with a lot of livestock feeders procuring hay with worries hay prices would continue higher. Wyoming, Colorado and Nebraska noted that hay movement this week was slowed down significantly with the midweek snow storm. Premium alfalfa in big squares or rounds ranged from $250-$300/ton. There was one quote of $370/ton, but that was delivered the rest were FOB.
Lamb slaughter this week was estimated at 32,000 head through Saturday. That was down 2,000 head from last week and an increase of 2,000 head from last year. Year to date lamb slaughter at 97,000 head 1.8% or 2,000 head more than the previous year’s lamb slaughter. Live lamb weights this week were 124 pounds. That was unchanged from last week and an decrease of 8 pounds from last year. Dressed lamb weights were 63 pounds. That is unchanged from last week and an increase of 3 pounds from last year.
Here is a regional price range from all sales in the report.
20-40 lbs $245-$275/cwt (light volume)
40-70 lbs $187-$305/cwt
70lbs & up $152-$210/cwt
20-40 lbs $250-$350/cwt
40-70 lbs $220-$310/cwt
70 lbs and up $162.50-$240/cwt
Hair Rams $110-$275/cwt
20-40 lbs $270-$450/cwt
40-70 lbs $195-$425/cwt
70 lbs & up $240-$340cwt
70 lbs & up $215-$350/cwt
Slaughter medium-fleshy $125-$245/hd