The American sheep industry has a flock’s worth of problems, but lamb weights aren’t one of them according to James Robb, senior agricultural economist for the Livestock Marketing Information Center. Robb joined LMIC’s Katelyn McCullock during a webinar on Tuesday to discuss Lamb Markets and Managing in These Uncertain Times.
The webinar was sponsored by the American Sheep Industry Association’s Let’s Grow Program, and drew participants from 38 states, five Canadian provinces and the District of Columbia.
“The industry has done a very good job of managing the flow of lambs in a difficult environment,” Robb said, but cautioned that it wouldn’t take much for this highlight to head south. “I thought weights would be a challenge, and that hasn’t occurred yet. But we can create a problem in this industry in just four to six weeks. So, we’re going to watch this.”
Other news and forecasts for the lamb industry weren’t as positive. Robb said it could easily be 2021 before the industry sees lamb prices returning to 2018 levels.
“These are going to be trying times from a price perspective,” he forecasted. “This is an environment where we need to do more management and monitoring than normal.”
Along with that management, Robb prefaced his presentation with a call for the industry to be more generous in sharing information with the United States government.
“I know we don’t like to tell USDA how many lambs we have or what our lambing crop is and things like that, but we have to think about the fact that USDA is going to fund research for the industry. And, if they don’t have that kind of data, they aren’t going to fund as much research as we deserve. Politically, the people back in Washington, D.C., do not understand your industry. They look at the numbers first, and then they decide on priorities. So, the size and importance of your industry needs to be relayed to them.”
Despite Ag Opposition, Senate Passes GAO Act
On Wednesday, the U.S. Senate voted 73-25 in support of the Great American Outdoors Act. The American Sheep Industry Association, Public Lands Council and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association strongly opposed passage of the legislation which included a provision to fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund, providing federal agencies $360 million per year solely to purchase private property without Congressional oversight.
At a time when domestic food production is highlighted in the minds of every American and the federal government has repeatedly demonstrated its inability to manage the federal lands currently under its jurisdiction, this is not the time to fund a massive federal land grab. The U.S. House of Representatives has signaled its intent to pass the legislation in advance of the July 4th holiday, and it is expected the president will sign the legislation when it arrives at the White House.
Members Sought for Targeted Grazing Working Group
At the American Sheep Industry Association Annual Convention in Scottsdale, Ariz., the Resource Management Council directed the association to begin a review of the existing Targeted Grazing Handbook and make recommendations to ensure this remains a valuable tool for sheep producers and the targeted grazing industry.
ASI originally published the Targeted Grazing Handbook in 2006. As the association looks to move forward under the leadership of Dr. John Walker and the Resource Management Council, the input of ASI members will be critical to the success of this project. ASI members who have an interest or academic background in rangeland sciences, or an active targeted grazing business are especially encouraged to participate.
If you would like to participate on the Targeted Grazing Working Group please email Chase Adams by Friday, June 26.
ASI Research Update Podcast: Parasites, Part II
In this month’s educational Research Update podcast, Jake Thorne of Texas A&M AgriLife Extension visits with West Virginia University’s Scott Bowdridge on breeding for parasite resistance.
Small Sale Leads to More Losses for Australian Market
The Australian wool market suffered further losses this week. Fremantle did not have a sale, pushing the national quantity down. There were originally 16,819 bales rostered for sale in Sydney and Melbourne, but after 7.2 percent of the offering was withdrawn prior to sale, the total number of bales available to the trade fell to 15,800 bales. This was the second smallest sale since AWEX records began (1995) and only slightly higher than the smallest sale recorded two weeks ago (15,375 bales).
The price reductions were driven by the continual discounting of lower-yielding wools, as buyers struggled to average these types into their purchases. In contrast to this, the limited offering of higher-yielding wools were highly sought after and least affected by the falling market. The individual Micron Price Guides in the Eastern markets fell by 11 to 71 cents with 18.0 micron and coarser most affected.
Due to these falls, the AWEX Eastern Market Indicator fell by 32 cents, closing the week at 1,139 Australian cents – a reduction of 2.8 percent. The EMI is now at its lowest point since 2015. Due to a slightly weaker Australian dollar, when viewed in USD terms the fall in the EMI was higher. The EMI lost 31 USc, dropping to 782 USc – a 4 percent decrease. The national passed in rate was 10.5 percent – 1.6 percent lower than last week and 6.8 percent lower than the current yearly average.
The crossbreds also recorded falls, the crossbred MPGs dropped by 18 to 24 cents. The oddment sector was the best performing for the week. The Southern Merino Carding Indicator had the only positive movement for the series. Fremantle re-joins the selling roster next week, for the final sale of 2019-20 season and the last of this financial year. As a result, the national quantity has risen. There are currently 30,240 bales on offer with all three centers in operation.
Source: AWEX
EPA Releases Guidance on Pesticide Safety Training
The Environmental Protection Agency has released guidance regarding the annual pesticide safety training requirements outlined in the Agricultural Worker Protection Standard that offers flexibility during the COVID-19 public health emergency.
The agency is aware that COVID-19 might make it difficult for agricultural employers and handler employers to provide WPS pesticide safety training or hire agricultural workers and pesticide handlers who have been trained in the last 12 months, as required by the WPS. In response, the guidance aims to inform agricultural employers and handler employers of flexibilities available under the WPS to allow continued protection for employees and agricultural production:
  • EPA encourages in-person training if workplace protections to maintain a healthy work environment are able to be implemented. For example, an employer might be able to provide pesticide safety training outside, in smaller than usual groups with well-spaced participants.
  • Alternatively, WPS training can be presented remotely, provided all WPS training requirements are met.
June 23 – Sustainable Management of Internal Parasites in the Upper Midwest and Northeast Session 4 – Webinar at 7 p.m. – or email Erin Recktenwald at
June 23 – Understanding Parasite Susceptibility & Resistance – Webinar with North Carolina State University’s Dr. Andrew Weaver at 7 p.m. central time –
June 25 – Estimated Breeding Values for Enhanced Lamb & Wool Production – Webinar with USMARC Sheep Geneticist Tom Murphy at 12:30 p.m. mountain time –
July 2 – Ram Management Considerations in the Intermountain West – Webinar with Wyoming Extension Sheep Specialist Whit Stewart at 12:30 p.m. mountain time –
July 10-11 – 99th Annual Idaho Wool Growers Association Ram Sale – Twin Falls, Idaho –
July 25 – South Dakota Sheep Growers Association Premium Yearling Ewe Sale – Magness Livestock in Huron, S.D. –
Aug. 4 – Let’s Grow Webinar: Secure Sheep and Wool Plan – Online at 8 p.m. eastern time – Details to be announced
Aug. 14-15 – Texas Sheep and Goat Expo – San Angelo, Texas –
Sept. 12 – Rafter 7 Ram Sale – Eureka County Fairgrounds, Eureka, Nev. – Tom Filbin at or 775-221-3206
Sept. 16 – 7th Annual Montana Ewe Sale – Miles City, Mont. –
Sept. 17 – 95th Annual Montana Ram Sale – Miles City, Mont. –
Sept. 18-19 – Missouri Sheep and Goat Conference – Columbia, Mo. –
Sept. 25 – Texas A&M AgriLife LGD Field Day – Fredericksburg, Texas –
Nov. 6-7 – 10th Annual Ozark Fiber Fling – Steelville, Mo. –
Weekly National Market Prices for Wool
Note: Producers must visit their Farm Service Agency office and fill out the appropriate paperwork before the wool or unshorn lambs are sold to claim the Wool LDP (when available).
Market Summary, Week Ending June 12, 2020
Commercial Feeder Prices, ($/cwt.), Medium and Large 1 2, St. Onge-Newell, SD: $79-$170 per cwt. for 62-113 lbs.; Billings, MT: $112-$162.50 per cwt. for 54-114 lbs. (6/1/20)
Slaughter Prices – Live, negotiated, Not reported due to confidentiality.
Slaughter Prices – Formula, 86.20 lbs. carcass weight $196.98 per cwt.
Slaughter Prices “Comprehensive Information”–-Formula & Negotiated, 83.65 lbs. carcass weight $203.29 per cwt.
Equity Electronic Auction, No sale.
Slaughter Prices – Non-traditional, 60-90 lbs., San Angelo, TX: $168-$202; New Holland, PA: Hair breeds, $189-$230 per cwt., wooled & shorn $200-$230.
Federally-inspected slaughter (Week ending 5/30/20): 34,128 head
Cutout Value/Net Carcass Value (1), $355.65 per cwt.
Carcass Price, Choice and Prime, YG 1-4, weighted average prices ($/cwt.), No prices reported.
Boxed Lamb, weighted average prices ($/cwt.), Trimmed Loins 4×4 536.20, Rack, roast-ready, frenched (cap-on) 1,619.34, Rack, roast-ready, frenched, special (cap-off) 1,983.87, Leg, trotter-off, partial boneless 437.17, Shoulder, square-cut 322.73, Ground lamb 500.77.
Imported Boxed Lamb, weighted average prices ($/cwt.), AUS Rack (fresh, frenched, cap-off, 28 oz/up) 1,085.24, AUS Shoulder (fresh, square-cut) 316.09, AUS Leg (fresh, semi boneless) 318.44, AUS Rack (frozen, frenched, cap-off, 28 oz/up) 727.08, NZ Rack (frozen, frenched, cap-off, 20 oz/up) 964.16, AUS Shoulder (frozen, square-cut) 278.57.
Exported Slaughter Ewes, 0 head
Wool, ($/pound clean), delivered FOB, From 2 weeks ago: 18 micron (Grade 80s) 3.64, 19 micron (Grade 80s) 3.35-3.80, 20 micron (Grade 70s) 3.09-3.50, 21 micron (Grade 64-70s) 2.63-3.51, 22 micron (Grade 64s) 2.48-3.46, 23 micron (Grade 62s) 2.61, 24 micron (Grade 60-62s) 2.10, 25 micron (Grade 58s) 1.53, 26 micron (Grade 56-58s) 1.53, 27 Micron (Grade 54-56s) 1.45, 28 micron (Grade 54s) NA, 30-32 micron (Grade 50s, Grade 46-48s) NA, Merino Clippings NA.
Australian Wool, ($/pound clean), delivered FOB, 18 micron (Grade 80s) 3.60-4.09, 19 micron (Grade 80s) 3.34-3.78, 20 micron (Grade 70s) 3.14-3.56, 21 micron (Grade 64-70s) 3.09-3.50, 22 micron (Grade 64s) NA, 23 micron (Grade 62s) NA, 24 micron (Grade 60-62s) NA, 25 micron (Grade 58s) NA, 26 micron (Grade 56-58s) 2.07-2.34, 28 micron (Grade 54s) 1.57-1.78, 30 micron (Grade 50s) 1.31-1.49, 32 micron (Grade 46-48s) 0.87-0.98, Merino Clippings 2.20-2.50.
(1) The cutout value is the same as a net carcass value. It is a composite value that sums the value of the respective lamb cuts multiplied by their weights. It is also the gross carcass value less processing and packaging costs.
Source: USDA/AMS

By Brian Allmer - The BARN

Brian Allmer & the BARN are members of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting (NAFB), the Colorado FFA Foundation, the Colorado 4H Foundation, the Colorado Farm Show Marketing Committee, 1867 Club Board Member, Denver Ag & Livestock Club Member, the Weld County Fair Board, the Briggsdale FFA Advisory Council, Briggsdale 4H Club Beef Leader & Founder / Coordinator of the Briggsdale Classic Open Jackpot Show.