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For the week ending January 28th the Midwest sheep and goat market was steady with some lower undertones across all classes of sheep and goats. Southern sales did note that the lighter weight slaughter lambs and goats saw increases in several instances. This appears to be an ethnic driven market with a few holidays in the coming months. More traditional slaughter stock that would go into a more commercial supply chain seems to have less demand. The concerns of consumers having to make some tough decisions at the grocery store is slowly coming to light. PCE price index data out on Friday showed that consumers are trying to spend less money with mounting concerns about the US economy. With other staple items such as eggs seeing strong price increases in early 2023 the meat counter may be seeing more penny pinching. That limits the upside potential for the seasonal bullishness of the market. The American Lamb Board released its FY22 Annual Report It showed as many expected lamb struggled from economic downturn, labor and global competition (imports) in 2022. The board remains optimistic for 2023 and noted they have three key areas to focus on this year. Including; -Marketing: Grow consumer demand for American Lamb-Research, Education & Innovation: Optimize/prioritize research and education efforts to improve product quality and consistency, increase productivity and grow the year-round supply of American Lamb -Industry Services: Expand awareness, understanding, engagement and involvement of stakeholders in the American Lamb Checkoff.
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. They sold 57 head of hair lambs weighing 75 lbs for $193/cwt or $145/hd average. The upper end of the draft brought $207.50/cwt or $155/hd. Slaughter ewes were popular in Centennial with 58 head weighing 205 lbs bringing $91/cwt or $187/hd. They list them as slaughter ewes, but there was a draft of 2 ewes that weighed 210 lbs and brought $346.50/hd. At Centennial the heavy goat wethers were popular with 18 head weighing 114 lbs bringing $229/cwt or $262/hd average. The upper end of the draft bringing $241/cwt or $275/hd. Sioux Falls Regional Livestock sold 267 head of 125 lb slaughter wool lambs for $130/cwt or $162.50/hd. Sioux Falls also sold 51 head of 1-2 yr old replacement ewes for $261/hd average. The upper end of the ewes brought $275/hd average. Producers livestock in San Angelo sold 57 head of 46 lb hair feeder lambs for $270/cwt or $124/hd. Producers also sold 27 head of 66 lbs feeder wool lambs for $248/cwt or $164/hd. Light weight goats in Texas were back towards 2022 levels. Producers sold 45 head of 43 lb feeder goats for $418/cwt average or $180/hd. The upper end of the draft brought $430/cwt or $185/hd.
USDA retail meat data for the week of January 20th, showed the lamb retail activity index was sharply higher, feature rate was up 5.30% higher, and the special rate was 3.90% higher. Lamb Cuts reported sharply higher, and Veal Cuts reported 11.11% lower. For the week Roast and Chop ads were both sharply higher. Lamb features offered more ad space for Shoulder Blade Chops, Shoulder Round Bone Chops, Rack, Rib Chops, Boneless Leg, Ground Lamb, and Stew MeatMutton
The grain markets were lower early on in the week as South American production looked to be strong as rains helped crops in Argentina. Soybean harvest is sluggish in Brazil, but it’s still generally expected that they will get the crop out in plenty of time. With that being said Brazil is not getting beans to the port very fast as China and unknown destinations purchased over a million metric tons of soybeans last week. A lower US dollar has also helped to increase export demand for US grain. Corn is slightly behind on USDA’s export expectations and soybeans are on track to meet USDA expectations. Thursday the grain complex turned higher though as global supply came into question. Reuters broke a story that USDA noted at an international grain conference in France that Russia was in an infeasible position to raise a 100 MMT of grain. That may put USDA’s estimates of 92 MMT into a clearer view. Meanwhile Ukraine officials at the same conference said they may have to trim an additional 1-7 MMT of grain production due to the war interrupting production. These global supply concerns were amplified then by India noting they would start purchasing wheat into their state held stockpiles to try and quell food inflation. The market in time will calm its fears, but there is some upside potential for the market.
The haymarket in Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa, South Dakota, Colorado and Wyoming were reported mostly steady again this week. The heavy snow that moved through parts of the high plains last week made crop residue and pasture grazing pretty tough. That is forcing ranchers to move to feeding hay. For those who did not expect to have to feed hay this early in the winter they are now buying more hay. So that helped to increase actually deals coming together in the hay trade. With hay supplies tight if more hay starts to move that could lead to prices increasing, but with the thinner demand leading up to this week prices may have found an upper end of the price range. Premium alfalfa this week ranged from $265-$325/ton. Small square grass and alfalfa appeared to range from $9-$15/bale.
Lamb slaughter this week was estimated at 33,000 head through Saturday. That was an increase of 1,000 head from last week and an increase of 4,000 head from last year. Year to date lamb slaughter at 130,000 head 4.5% or 6,000 head more than the previous year’s lamb slaughter. Live lamb weights this week were 125 pounds. That was an increase of 1 lb from last week and a decrease of 4 pounds from last year. Dressed lamb weights were 63 pounds. That is unchanged from last week and an increase of 2 pounds from last year.
Here is a regional price range from all sales in the report.
20-40 lbs N/A
40-70 lbs $110-$260/cwt
70lbs & up $110-$260/cwt
20-40 lbs $250-$325/cwt
40-70 lbs $190-$330/cwt
70 lbs and up $130-$245/cwt
Hair Rams $110-$180/cwt
20-40 lbs $250-$430/cwt
40-70 lbs $190-$380/cwt
70 lbs & up $200-$280cwt
70 lbs & up $225-$280/cwt
Slaughter medium-fleshy $130-$250/hd