For the week ending March 27th the Midwest sheep and goat came to a fork in the road. Sheep and lambs went South and goats went North. In a few sales lambs were able to hold steady, but for the most part the lamb market continues to be in decline with several sales noting dropping demand for lambs of all sizes. Meanwhile kid goat sales were steady to higher in several markets. This only adds to the already strong goat market that started to kick off after the first of the year. So there’s the big question of what continues to drive this market. For sheep and lambs it is likely the Easter market has met its quota or is out of time to get lambs processed and on the shelf for the consumer. Easter is now just 1 week away. As for goats the general demand past Easter and other ethnic holidays appears to be strong and lasting. However a producer must keep in mind that this market is very thin in volume vs. other markets like beef and pork. That means if there is a build up of product or a drop in demand the price reaction could come quickly and without much warning. Cull prices are still very attractive in the goat market which likely means strong prices can last in the coming years as the national herd shrinks. There is one goat herd dispersal that has been advertised for an early week sale in Texas next week. It will be interesting to see the demand for these does and if it will differ from other nannies in the sale. The Mid States Hair Sheep cooperative will be hosting their sale on Saturday 3/27. This should give a look at the current seed stock market within the Midwest sheep and goat market.
Other commodity markets were mixed to lower on the week. Grain markets are keeping a close eye on what USDA will say next week for intended row crop acres and quarterly grain stockpiles. The grain stockpiles may give livestock feeders a better idea of what gains will be readily available through the spring and summer for rations. Southern plains cattle feeders are already starting to buy wheat and mix it into rations given the Kansas City wheat futures and corn futures are only 16 cents apart. Oregon State University Extension shared a Canadian study about impacts they saw in sheep feeding corn vs. wheat. “Whole corn produced slightly faster and more efficient gains. However, its value is no more than barley or wheat because the advantage of higher energy is offset by its lower protein content. Barley and wheat have produced similar results, perhaps with a slight advantage to barley. Oats fall well behind in terms of live weight gain, feed efficiency, and dressing percentage. The value of oats is no more than 80% the price of barley. There is also some evidence to suggest that oats may produce a less desirable flavor in the meat than the other grains. The best choice of grain will vary with location, supply, and price.” The best bet when looking at rations and how to feed grains is to consult a nutritionist that is familiar with the dietary needs and restrictions of the livestock you raise.
Other feed input markets to report include the hay market. Kansas and Nebraska both reported steady prices across all hay classes. Demand is still fairly strong, but movement is down week to week across the country. We are one week closer to first cutting and turning out on grass which has producers trying to make their current hay pile stretch. One thing to note looking forward in the hay market is Kansas reporting with higher grain prices fringe hay acres are in danger of going to corn, soybeans or wheat. This could mean tighter supplies of hay going into the fall and winter of 20/22.
For the week ending 3/27 lamb slaughter under federal inspection was estimated at 36,000 head on Friday. There is an expected Saturday slaughter of a 2,000 head (the largest Saturday slaughter we have seen thus far in 2021). That will bring the total weekly slaughter to 38,000 head. That’s 5,000 head more than last week and 3,000 more than the previous year. Year to date lamb slaughter at 435,000 head. About 4.9% or 22,000 head lighter than a year ago. Lamb slaughter resumed closing the gap to last year’s slaughter pace this week. The increased slaughter just ahead of Easter erased 2% of the deficit from last year in one week. That is the largest weekly gain we have seen so far this year. Cattle and hog slaughter actually opened their gap to last year’s slaughter levels this week. Going from 3.3% -4.4% to -3.5% -4.7%. USDA data shows that goat slaughter under federal inspection was 9,040 head for the week as of 3/26. That is 880 head more than the prior week. Lamb and mutton production under federal inspection through 3/26 is estimated at 2.6 million pounds. That is 300,000 pounds more than last week. Year to date lamb and mutton production is estimated at 29.6 million pounds. That is down 4% or 1.2 million pounds. The average live lamb weight for the week ending 3/26 was 137 pounds, unchanged from last week and down 2 pounds from last year. Dressed weights for lambs this week were 69 pounds. That is unchanged from last week and 1 pound lighter than a year ago.
As for ethnic holidays that may influence markets. We are now entering into the week of Passover March 27- April 4, 1 week away from Western Roman Easter April 4, Ramadan month of fasting.
Sale reports from the week
Hamilton Commission Company Hamilton Texas sold 2,341 head of sheep and goats on Monday 3/22. That compares to 2,073 head in the previous week’s sale. Dorper lambs were $10-$20 softer, wool lambs were $10-$20 softer, barbado lambs were $10-$20 softer, ewes steady, kids mixed, and nannies steady. Highlighted quotes from the sale include dorper and dorper cross lambs weighing 40-70 lbs brought $250-$310/cwt. Wool lambs at all weights were untested. Kid goats weighing 40-70 lbs brought $240-$460/cwt.
Producers Livestock San Angelo Texas sold 7,562 head of sheep and goats on Tuesday 3/23. That compared to 6,800 head on 3/16 and 0 head last year. Compared to last week slaughter lambs 10.00-20.00 lower. Slaughter ewes weak to 5.00 lower. Feeder lambs 10.00-20.00 lower in light test. Nannies steady ; kids firm. Trading and demand moderate. Highlighted quotes from San Angelo include; 54 head of feeder lambs weighing 60 pounds brought $264/cwt, 146 feeder lambs weighing 72 pounds brought $256/cwt, 7 head of slaughter lambs averaging 80 lbs brought $264-$274/cwt, 611 head of hair breed slaughter size lambs averaged 46 lbs brought $266-$286/cwt, 1,127 head of hair breed slaughter lambs weighing 63 pounds brought $264-$280/cwt, 101 head of feeder goats weighing 37lbs brought $430-$448/cwt, 197 head of feeder goats weighing 35 pounds brought $410-$438, 159 head slaughter goats weighing 64 lbs brought $426-$454/cwt, 23 head of slaughter goats weighing 73 pounds brought $440/cwt, 7 wethers weighing 118 pounds brought $270-$350.
Centennial Livestock Fort Collins Colorado sold 1,484 head of sheep and goats on Wednesday 3/24. That compared to 322 head the week prior and 1,214 head a year ago. Compared to last week: Feeder lambs had no test and Slaughter lambs had no test. Slaughter bucks had no test and ewes traded steady. Slaughter kids had no test. Slaughter nannies sold mostly steady. Slaughter bucks and wethers had no test. Highlighted quotes from Fort Collins; 32 head of feeder lambs weighing 67 pounds brought $230-$250/cwt, 21 head slaughter lambs weighing 71 lbs brought $235-$245/cwt, 29 head of hair breed lambs weighing 50 pounds brought $237.50, 45 head of hair breed lambs weighing 61 pounds brought $230-$240/cwt, 17 head of feeder kids weighing 36 lbs brought $95-$160/head, 107 head of slaughter goats weighing 57 lbs brought $185-$240/head, 9 wethers weighing 121 pounds brought $300-$360/hd
Sioux Falls Regional Livestock in Worthing, South Dakota sold 1,231 head of sheep and goats on Wednesday 3/24. That compared to 975 head last week and 689 head last year. Traditional slaughter weight lambs 2.00 higher, non traditional lambs sold with lower undertones for the second week straight. Slaughter ewes Good 2-3 7.00 to 10.00 higher, Good 4-5 6.00 to 9.00 lower, Utility 1-2 and Cull 1 to few to make a meaningful comparison. Demand for this light offering of nice sheep was very good. Highlighted quotes from Sioux Falls; 42 feeder lambs weighing 57 pounds brought $280/cwt, 160 slaughter lambs weighing 65 pounds brought $260-$270/cwt, 143 head of slaughter lambs weighing 74 pounds brought $250-$272.50/cwt, 16 head of feeder goats weighing 34 pounds brought $360-$370/cwt, 36 head of slaughter goats weighing 67 pounds brought $350-$410/cwt, 6 wethers weighing 103 pounds brought $310/cwt.
Kalona Iowa sale barn sold 1,316 head of sheep and goats on Wednesday 3/24. That compared to 1,101 head the prior week and 0 head a year ago. Compared to last Wednesday slaughter lambs 40-60 lbs. 15.00 lower, over 60 lbs. mostly firm. Hair lambs steady, slaughter ewes 4.00 lower, slaughter bucks firm. Slaughter kids 50-90 lbs. 20.00-50.00 higher, slaughter nannies and does 15.00 higher, slaughter bucks steady. Trade active with moderate demand for sheep, good demand for goats Highlighted quotes from Kalona; 59 head of feeder lambs weighing 36 pounds brought $279-$282.50/cwt, 57 slaughter lambs weighing 75 lbs brought $270-$290/cwt, 62 head of slaughter lambs weighing 121 lbs brought $177.50-$261/cwt, 27 head of hair breed slaughter lambs weighing 65 lbs brought $250-$267.50/cwt, 11 head of feeder goats weighing 24 pounds brought $80-$95/hd, 72 head slaughter goats weighing 46 pounds brought $145-$195/hd, 32 head of slaughter goats weighing 63 pounds brought $245-$290/hd, 27 wethers weighing 74 pounds brought $280-$290/hd.
Colby Livestock Colby Kansas sold close to 579 head of sheep and goats on Thursday 3/25. That compared to 866 head the previous week. Talking with Sale manager Leeland Wilson he noted the goat market was steady, but the lamb market $3-$4 softer. Demand was still good for all classes of livestock. Highlighted quotes from Colby; 16 head of dorper cross lambs weighing 54 pounds brought $275/cwt, 9 black face lambs weighing 66 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, 11 head of boer cross feeder kids weighing 45 lbs brought $442.50, 37 head of boer cross feeder kids weighing 39 lbs brought $438/cwt, 27 head of boer cross kids weighing 67 pounds brought $417/cwt, 13 head of cross bred kids weighing 65 pounds brought $407.50.