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For the week ending January 22nd the Midwest sheep and goat market was fully steady with premiums on high quality livestock. The lamb market is starting to show a few pinholes with lower quality 2-3 lambs both feeder and slaughter sliding $10-$15 in several sales. Sioux Falls livestock in South Dakota had a hot lamb market this week with 91 head of fancy 81 pound lambs bringing $3.90/lb. Sioux falls also topped the bred ewe market with 191 head of running age ewe bringing $400/head on the average. The top cut of the ewes brought $430/head. The bred replacement ewe market remains strong. For goats most of the market remains very strong with 30-35 pound kids in Hamilton Texas bringing $5.25 pound. 52 head of 52 pound kids brought $4.90 pound in San Angelo Texas. Quality 61 wethers in Colby brought $4.60/pound. The slaughter market for does/nannies continues to be strong with it being hard to find the line between what returned to production and what went to slaughter. The upper end of the fleshly cull does brought $375/head on the week. Choice quality replacement does topped out at $420/head this week. So the replacement market continues to be strong.
On the retail front USDA finally released the lamb retail data for the week of January 14th. So we are looking at a week prior. The lamb cuts retail activity index was 37.77% higher compared to last week. The roast ads were 55.55% lower while chops ad space was sharply higher. Lamb features ad space for Shoulder Blade Chops, Loin Chops and Stew MeatLamb was higher. This is positive to see as pork and beef actually took a step back at the meat counter last week. Both proteins saw a shift away from holiday specials and a more balanced meat counter. That seemed to benefit lamb.
For Ethnic holidays we have Chinese new year February 1st, Passover coming April 15-23rd, Ramadan April 2nd – May 1st, Roman Easter April 17th, and Greek Easter April 24th.
Other commodity markets were back and forth this week with sellers starting the week on news of beneficial rains in South America. Buyers were able to come back midweek with rumors of China being in the market for a 1-2 million metric ton purchase of soybeans and corn. Analysts saw the possible purchases being possible as China tries to make up for some of it’s misses in the Phase One Trade deal. China may also have to come to the US for commodities as Brazilian farmers are shutting the door on the bins and not moving grain due to currency moves. That could lend more demand to the US in general. The export sales and shipments from USDA on Friday did not confirm any large purchases of commodities by China, but may next week. With no confirmation on increased sales that lead to more selling to end the week across much of the complex. Big picture for the grains there seems to be range forming that helps put a floor near established lows during sell offs, but caps upside potential around previous highs.
The hay market in Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa, South Dakota and Wyoming did not see much change in price this week, but did see demand pick up. South Dakota noted a strong uptick in straw movement as another round of cold temps hit much of the Northern plains. Lots of ranchers are still on crop residue or winter pasture, but drought is starting to be a concern and ranchers want to be ready to stretch resources if things don’t change by spring. The latest drought outlook from NOAA shows the Western two-thirds of the Dakotas, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma all the way West to West to California to be in drought or likely to be in drought.The drought outlook holds these conditions will continue through the end of April. This type of outlook may continue to drive demand and that will likely lead to higher prices in the weeks to come.
Lamb slaughter is slowly falling in the same pattern as hog and cattle slaughter and falling behind the previous year’s pace. It does appear this week though that plants are getting back for a more regular labor pool. Lamb slaughter this week through Saturday was estimated at 32,000 head. That is 1,000 head less than last week and 2,000 head less than last year.. Goat slaughter under federal inspection this week was estimated at 9,245 head. Lamb production was at 2.0 million pounds for the week. That was 100,000 pounds or almost 5% less than the previous week. Live lamb weights were 128 pounds this week with dressed weights of 64 pounds. That was a slight uptick from the previous week.
Here is a regional price range from all sales in the report.
40-70 lbs $340-$445/cwt
70 lbs & up $240-$390/cwt
20-40 lbs $375-$410/cwt
40-70 lbs $365-$450/cwt
70 lbs and up $275-$395/cwt
Hair Rams $200-$365/cwt
20-40 lbs $250-$525/cwt
40-70 lbs $350-$490/cwt
70 lbs & up $265-$400/cwt
Slaughter medium-fleshy $175-$375/hd