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For the week ending March 25th the Midwest sheep and goat market was steady with higher undertones on a few select classes. Once again this week those classes were the lightweight slaughter lambs and goats. Kalona IA broke the $500/cwt mark again this year on midweight slaughter goats. We saw this in several sales last year, but it hasn’t been seen yet this year. Ramadan starts next Sunday April 2nd and as we’ve talked about in recent episodes the current market run seems to be a very seasonal ethnic market run. Given the fact we’ve seen the cull stock market hold steady, but not continue climbing is likely signaling that we are coming close to the spring market high. Other news this week is that USDA released their latest cold storage report for February. The general outlook of the report shows that cold storage levels are quickly rebuilding across all proteins. For lamb and mutton the US has roughly 28.6 million pounds in commercial cold storage. That is up 13% or 3.3 million pounds from the prior month. It’s also a 29% or 6.4 million pounds from last year. Lamb saw the largest growth in both monthly and yearly stocks in commercial cold storage. Beef saw a 6% monthly and yearly drop. Pork saw no increase month over month and a 9% increase year over year. Partially explaining the increase in the cold storage stocks of lamb could be that lamb slaughter is over 7% higher than it was a year ago. That is largest increase in year over year slaughter pace vs. cattle (-2.6%) and hogs (+1.6%). With Easter on the horizon that may help to decrease the stocks over the next month.
For Ethnic holidays we have Passover coming April 15-23rd, Ramadan April 2nd – May 1st, Roman Easter April 17th, and Greek Easter April 24th.
On the retail side of the market USDA data shows last week the Lamb and Veal retail activity index was sharply higher, feature rate was 4.9% higher, and the special rate was 3.7% higher. Activity of Lamb Cuts were reported sharply higher. For second consecutive week no Roast ads were reported, while Chop ads were sharply higher. Lamb features offered the most ad space for Shoulder Blade Chops and Shoulder Round Bone Chops.
Highlighted quotes this week include Kalona in Iowa which sold 108 head of 45 lb slaughter goats for $442/cwt average or $199/hd. The upper end of the draft brought $500/cwt or $225/hd. Kalona also sold 44 head of 115 lb whether goats for $292/cwt or $252/hd. The upper end of the draft brought $340/cwt or $295/hd. Kalona also sold 202 head of 63 lb slaughter wool lambs for $272/cwt or $171/hd average. The upper end of the draft brought $290/cwt or $183/hd. Colby Livestock in Kansas sold 22 head of dorper hair lambs weighing 63 lbs for $245/cwt or $154/hd. Colby also sold 59 head of white face wool lambs weighing 59 head for $255/cwt or $150/hd. Colby sold 24 head of 49 lb slaughter goats for $426/cwt or $208/hd. Sioux Falls Regional Livestock in South Dakota sold 443 head of 61 lb slaughter wool lambs for $245/cwt or $150/hd average. The upper end of the draft brought $260/cwt or $158/hd. Sioux Falls sold 42 head of 55 lb slaughter goats for $445/cwt or $245/hd average. The upper end of the draft sold for $460/cwt or $253/hd. Producers Livestock in Texas sold 374 head of 74 lb slaughter hair lambs for $272/cwt or $201/hd average. The upper end of the draft brought $284/cwt or $210/hd.
Lamb slaughter this week was estimated at 37,000 head through Saturday. That was an increase of 1,000 head from last week and a decrease of 1,000 head from last year. Year to date lamb slaughter at 410,000 head 7.2% or 28,000 head more than the previous year’s lamb slaughter. Live lamb weights this week were 132 pounds. That was a decrease of 1 lb from last week and a decrease of 4 pounds from last year. Dressed lamb weights were 67 pounds. That is a decrease 1 lb from last week and last year.
Here is a regional price range from all sales in the report.
20-40 lbs $200-$325/cwt
40-70 lbs $182-$300/cwt
70lbs & up $135-$260/cwt
20-40 lbs $230-$300/cwt
40-70 lbs $220-$300/cwt
70 lbs and up $180-$290/cwt
Hair Rams $55-$185/cwt
20-40 lbs $300-$500/cwt
40-70 lbs $275-$500/cwt
70 lbs & up $212-$310/cwt
70 lbs & up $190-$300/cwt
Slaughter medium-fleshy $130-$290/hd