Welcome to Easter week, a notable holiday for the lamb and goat market. For the week ending April 3rd the Midwest sheep and goat started down the same road as it had the previous week, but then lambs held the line and ended with a firmer undertone. Early week Texas sales noted lower lamb, ewe, and ram prices. Then by midweek more Northern sales were noting steady to slightly softer slaughter lambs prices and higher prices on feeder lambs. As for the goat market it was higher across the board for another week. It will be interesting to see how the market holds after the Easter week. Ramadan Month of Fasting will follow almost immediately after Easter and will end Mid May. This may be part of the reason we continue to see the goat market continue higher. After that ethnic and religious holidays that could be helping increase the demand in the sheep and goat market will drop off until late summer and early fall. That doesn’t necessarily mean that we will see a dramatic drop off or slack in prices. Bloomberg, a national publication wrote this week that the global pandemic actually helped to boost lamb consumption with new customers trying the meat for the first time and learning how to cook it properly. That may be the silver lining in the pandemic that has brought people back to the kitchen and trying things they may normally not have in a traditional year. The strong prices in the ruminant market also have smaller scale cattle operations looking more seriously at diversifying their herds. As Grandmother used to say, “never put your eggs in one baskett.” Diversification may also provide benefits to rangeland with cattle, sheep and goats all have different grazing patterns.
Last week I mentioned that there were several sales that might give a glimpse into the seedstock market for sheep and goats. That market also appears to be very robust and supportive of high prices. Hamilton Commission Company in Texas sold an entire herd dispersal of 100 spanish does/nannies. While not specifically listed in their market report choice replacement females traded $210-$275/ head. That is a $10-$50 dollar per head increase week to week. The Mid States Hair Sheep Cooperative hosted their spring sale in Nebraska on March 27th. I talked with the Cooperative President Josh Brent about the sale and his interview is included below. Brent noted that prices were strong and they had more livestock through the ring then they expected. Sellers and buyers came from across the country to market their top seedstock.
Other commodity markets were higher on the week. The USDA shocked corn and soybeans prices on Wednesday with their perspective planting report. US farmers are expected to plant less than 180 million acres of corn and soybeans in 2021. While the aggregate number sounds big it is smaller in comparison to other years. The smaller acres could also indicate continuing tight grain stocks for all uses for the next year.Part of the reason why acres for corn and soybeans were smaller was fringe crops like cotton and sorghum actually saw slight increases or no reductions from previous years. That may mean livestock feeders have to get creative with rations. This week corn and Kansas City hard red winter wheat futures jockeyed back and forth near the same price. That means wheat is continuing to price itself in as a feed grain and will be placed in more rations. Before changing rations or feeding a grain you’re unfamiliar with, consult with a livestock nutritionist.
Other feed input markets to report include the hay market. Kansas and Nebraska both reported steady prices on all hay classes. Southwest Kansas was paying $10/ton more for alfalfa which is becoming very difficult for them to source. Nebraska reported $5/ton increase for dehydrated alfalfa pellets. Overall hay movement appeared to be slowing as farmers get into the field for early spring work.
For the week ending 4/3 lamb slaughter under federal inspection was estimated at 36,000 head on Friday. There is an expected Saturday slaughter of a 0 head. That will bring the total weekly slaughter to 36,000 head. That’s 2,000 head less than last week and 5,000 more than the previous year (we were just starting to see packing plant disruptions due to covid a year ago.). Year to date lamb slaughter at 476,000 head. About 2.1% or 10,000 head lighter than a year ago. Lamb slaughter really closed the gap to the previous year’s slaughter this last week jumping 2.8% week to week. Over the last 2 weeks lamb slaughter has gone from 6% behind to just 2%. Cattle and hog slaughter have not closed their gap to the previous year’s slaughter and are now behind lamb slaughter in catching up to last year’s level. Cattle slaughter is 3.4% behind and hog slaughter is 4.6% behind. USDA data shows that goat slaughter under federal inspection was 8,411 head for the week as of 4/2. That is 629 head fewer than the prior week. Lamb and mutton production under federal inspection through 4/3 is estimated at 2.5 million pounds. That is 100,000 pounds less than last week. Year to date lamb and mutton production is estimated at 32.5 million pounds. That is down 1.1% or 300,000 pounds. The average live lamb weight for the week ending 4/2 was 137 pounds, unchanged from last week and up 1 pounds from last year. Dressed weights for lambs this week were 69 pounds. That is unchanged from last week and 1 pound heavier than a year ago.
Sale reports from the week
Mid States Hair Sheep Cooperative Spring sale sold 276 head of registered and commercial hair sheep on Saturday March 27th. It was noted that demand was very strong for registered dorper and white dorper lambs of both sexes. The top selling ram grossed over $1,700 in the sale ring. The top selling registered Dorper ewe brought $1,190. The range on the dorper and white dorper rams was $900-$1,700. The range on dorper ewes was $435 to $1,190.
Hamilton Commission Company Hamilton Texas sold 2,217 head of sheep and goats on Monday 3/29. That compares to 2,341 head in the previous week’s sale. Dorper lambs were $10 softer, wool lambs were $20 softer, barbado lambs were $20 softer, ewes steady, kids sharply higher, and nannies steady. Highlighted quotes from the sale include dorper and dorper cross lambs weighing 40-70 lbs brought $250-$280/cwt. Wool lambs at all weights were untested. Kid goats weighing 40-70 lbs brought $400-$440/cwt.
Producers Livestock San Angelo Texas sold 9,276 head of sheep and goats on Tuesday 3/30. That compared to 7,562 head on 3/23 and 4,216 head last year. Compared to last week slaughter lambs 10.00-15.00 lower. Slaughter ewes weak. Feeder lambs firm to 5.00 higher. Nannies steady; kids firm to 5.00 higher. Trading and demand moderate Highlighted quotes from San Angelo include; 46 head of feeder lambs weighing 57 pounds brought $259/cwt, 278 head of feeder lambs weighing 66 pounds brought $256-$264/cwt, 14 head of slaughter lambs averaging 82 lbs brought $262-$278/cwt, 1,029 head of hair breed slaughter size lambs averaged 56 lbs brought $256-$266/cwt, 1,304 head of hair breed slaughter lambs weighing 65 pounds brought $254-$268/cwt, 120 head of feeder goats weighing 37lbs brought $440-$456/cwt, 360 head slaughter goats weighing 54 lbs brought $432-$462/cwt, 120 head of slaughter goats weighing 64 pounds brought $432-$460/cwt, 30 wethers weighing 103 pounds brought $170/cwt.
Centennial Livestock Fort Collins Colorado sold 1,307 head of sheep and goats on Wednesday 3/31. That compared to 1,484 head the week prior and 617 head a year ago. Compared to last week: In sheep, feeder lambs traded steady to sharply higher. Slaughter lambs traded sharply higher on limited comparable trades. Slaughter ewes traded mostly 2.00 to 15.00 lower while slaughter bucks were steady to 14.00 higher. In goats, slaughter kids traded steady to sharply higher. Slaughter nannies were unevenly steady, while slaughter billies traded mostly 7.00 to 9.00 lower. Slaughter wethers traded sharply higher on a thin test. Highlighted quotes from Fort Collins; 35 head of feeder lambs weighing 61 pounds brought $242.50/cwt, 31 head slaughter lambs weighing 110 lbs brought $225-$245/cwt, 11 head of hair breed lambs weighing 65 pounds brought $240-$265, 5 head of feeder kids weighing 23 lbs brought $105-$130/head, 43 head of slaughter goats weighing 56 lbs brought $205-$240/head, 10 wethers weighing 115 pounds brought $340-$365/hd
Sioux Falls Regional Livestock in Worthing, South Dakota sold 981 head of sheep and goats on Wednesday 3/31. That compared to 1,231 head last week and 582 head last year. Traditional slaughter weight lambs 3.00 to 5.00 lower, non traditional slaughter weight lambs sold with steady undertones this week. Slaughter ewes Good 2-3 steady to 2.00 lower, Good 4-5 steady, Utility 1-2 and Cull 1 too lightly tested to make a meaningful comparison. Demand for this light offering of quality sheep was moderate. Highlighted quotes from Sioux Falls; 70 feeder lambs weighing 47 pounds brought $270-$315/cwt, 121 slaughter lambs weighing 66 pounds brought $205-$280/cwt, 101 head of slaughter lambs weighing 159 pounds brought $164-$174/cwt, 9 head of feeder goats weighing 43 pounds brought $365-$370/cwt, 5 head of slaughter goats weighing 64 pounds brought $295-$310/cwt, 5 wethers weighing 88 pounds brought $295/cwt.
Kalona Iowa sale barn sold 1,230 head of sheep and goats on Wednesday 3/31. That compared to 1,316 head the prior week and 0 head a year ago. Compared to the previous Wednesday (3/24) slaughter lambs 40-80 lbs. 15.00-25.00 higher, 80-140 lbs. 10.00 higher, hair sheep 50-80 lbs. 10.00-25.00 higher, slaughter ewes 2.00-6.00 higher, hair ewes 10.00 higher, slaughter bucks steady. Slaughter kids 30-80 lbs. 15.00-30.00 higher, slaughter nannies and billies firm. Trade active with very good demand for both sheep and goats. Highlighted quotes from Kalona; 27 head of feeder lambs weighing 34 pounds brought $277.50-$290/cwt, 63 slaughter lambs weighing 64 lbs brought $282.50-$302.50/cwt, 40 head of slaughter lambs weighing 93 lbs brought $282.50-$292.50/cwt, 30 head of hair breed slaughter lambs weighing 55 lbs brought $290-$295/cwt, 11 head of feeder goats weighing pounds brought $130-$155/hd, 15 head slaughter goats weighing 64 pounds brought $245-$275/hd, 2 wethers weighing 110 pounds brought $320-$330/hd.
Colby Livestock Colby Kasnas sold close to 1,042 head of sheep and goats on Thursday 4/1. That compared to 579 head the previous week. Talking with Sale manager Leeland Wilson he noted the goat market was steady to a few higher undertones. The lamb market was steady to softer on a few lots. Demand and auction activity was still good for all classes of livestock.Sheep and goats were average to attractive in quality. Highlighted quotes from Colby; 16 head of dorper cross lambs weighing 54 pounds brought $275/cwt, 10 dorper cross lambs weighing 57 pounds brought $270/cwt, 15 head of black face lambs weighing 139 pounds brought $165/cwt, 13 head of boer cross feeder kids weighing 47 pounds brought $446/cwt, 37 head of boer cross feeder kids weighing 39 lbs brought $438/cwt, 9 head of boer cross feeder kids weighing 69 lbs brought $430/cwt, 13 head of crossbred kids weighing 65 pounds brought $407.50/cwt.
Verdigre Stockyards held their sheep and goat sale on Thursday 4/1. The sale barn called the sale barn a full house with plenty of buyers. There is no official market given the last sale was more than two weeks ago. Highlighted quotes from Verdigre; 115 pound wool lambs brought $157.50/cwt, 40 pound wool lambs brought $250/cwt, 77 pound hair breed lambs brought $205, 160 pound slaughter lambs brought $155/cwt, 37 pound cross bred kid goats brought $120/hd, 65 pound boer cross kids brought $260/cwt, 60 pound boer cross kids brought $370/cwt, 55 pound boer cross kids topped the market at $450/cwt.
Mid States Hair Sheep Cooperative Interview