Midwest Sheep and goat market report for the week of December 4th

Midwest Sheep and goat market report for the week of December 4th
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December 4th, 2021 | Clay Patton

Bull Tackle Feed in Lexington Nebraska sponsors this weekly report. This week we hear from one of his customers on some of the benefits they have seen using Bull Tackle Products. Learn more at Bull Tackle’s Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/bulltackle/

For the week ending December 4th  the Midwest sheep and goat market was on fire and maybe best described as instances of sharply higher. On the whole both lambs and kid prices were $15-$30 higher. There’s a few highlight prices to look at this week. Texas sales dominated the goat market with lightweight kids (30 lbs) in San Angelo bringing $458/cwt on the upper end. Colby Kansas sold a small draft of dorper lambs weighing 35 lbs for $480/cwt. Kalona Iowa sold lightweight wool lambs (50lbs) for $407.50/cwt. These are the highest prices we have seen in months and for some barns these are likely pushing on record prices. This leaves a big question in the air. Are we putting the top into the market before we start 2022? That’s hard to tell. Right now the broader market is volatile and very mixed. It’s no longer a permanent bull situation where you buy an asset and it goes up in value. With that being said livestock are having a nice run at this time. This week in the fed/fat cattle market it was also higher at $141 live and $220 dressed. That was $3 higher than the previous week and about $17 higher than where we were just a few weeks ago. So there’s the chance the momentum the market is building can continue to accelerate and prices continue to move higher through the rest of the month. December Hannakua and Christmas are top on the holiday list. There is also more data emerging that demand is continuing to increase for lamb at the retail meat counter. Pete Camino of the American Lamb Board recently told reporters that in 2021 retail sales of lamb are up 25% and ground lamb is up nearly 30%. His audio is in our podcast of this report below. There is also a second interview on this week’s report as Chairman of the American Lamb Board Gwen Kitzman discusses lamb demand around the holidays. The biggest threat to the current market still appears to be overpricing and demand rationing. We have not yet found the price where this happens, but if we continue to see aggressive weekly pricing it’s possible that high prices will eventually sour consumers. Wages are still increasing though according to the latest jobs report so that helps offset some consumer concern. 

On the retail front USDA data showed this week, the lamb cuts retail activity index down 42.85% compared to the prior week. This week roasts decreased sharply while chops ad space was sharply higher. Shoulder Blade and Loin Chops were the most widely featured item among the Lamb features as prices were mixed. 

 Other commodity markets were mixed throughout the week. Soybeans were the only grain to see a small gain on the week. Wheat saw the most substantial losses as high prices rationed demand world wide and speculative funds started to pull money away from commodities for safer assets like bonds and the US dollar. Corn and soybeans were both supported with possible dry weather coming into South America over the next few weeks. Although Argentina’s corn crop is currently rated 90% good to excellent. Grain markets still have plenty of bullish fundamentals, but at the moment seem to be content trading around current price ranges. 

The hay market for the first partial week of December showed steady prices in Nebraska. Kansas did not have a hay report. South Dakota showed firm prices for most classes of hay. High feed value alfalfa was in strong demand though and garnering slightly higher prices. Northern plains will likely continue to be the source of the greatest hay demand. The latest drought monitor does show more of the high plains and Western US in some stage of drought with a fairly warm and dry winter thus far. Many producers are still expecting to see an increase in hay prices once winter weather like conditions actually occur. 

Friday US lamb slaughter was estimated at 39,000 head with a Saturday estimate of 1,000 head. So weekly kill is 40,000 head in line with week ago and year ago levels. US lamb production was rated at 2.5 million pounds. That is 500,000 pounds more than the previous week. Year to date lamb production is still 1% behind year ago levels. Live lamb weights were 127 pounds and 64 pounds dressed. Essentially unchanged with the previous year. 

Here is a regional price range from all sales in the report. 

Wool lambs

20-40 lbs $300-$407.50

40-70 lbs $285-$380/cwt

70 lbs & up $235-$295/cwt

Hair lambs

20-40 lbs $300-$480/cwt

40-70 lbs $300-$430/cwt

70 lbs and up $200-$375/cwt

Wool ewes 

Slaughter $102.50-$179/cwt

Replacement N/A

Wool bucks $125-$155/cwt

Hair Ewes 

Slaughter $100-$270/hd

Hair Rams $145-$210/cwt

Kid Goats

20-40 lbs $300-$458/cwt

40-70 lbs $270-$465/cwt

70 lbs & up $265-$370/cwt

Does

Slaughter medium-fleshy $160-$285/hd

Replacement $210-$320/HD

Bucks 

Slaughter $230-$320/cwt

Breeding $280-$550/hd

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