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UNITED STATES DEP.;'RTiMENIT OF AGRICULTURE
Bureau of Agricultural Economics
SLS-4 April 20,1937
THE SHEEP AND LAMB SITUAT I N
Marketings of early spring lambs this year will be later than usual
from nearly all areas. Because of unfavorable weather and feed conditions
and delayed lambing, the number of new crop lambs marketed before July 1
will be considerably smaller than last year. In view of the smaller
marketing of lambs in prospect and the relatively strong consumer demand
for meats, prices of spring lambs probably will be maintained during May
and June at or near the present level, which is from $1.50 to $2 higher
than a year earlier. The seasonal decline in prices of lambs which usually
begins in early June, is likely to start somewhat later this year.
The smaller marketing of fed lambs and early spring lambs expected
in the next 2 months as compared with a year earlierprdbably will be
accompanied by a large movement of grass-fat yearlings and wethers from
Texas. Marketing of yearlings and wethers from Texas this year may be as
large as the record movement in 1931.
After reaching the highest level thus far during the present season
in mid-March, prices of fed lambs declined in late March and early April.
Slaughter supplies of sheep and lambs in March were slightly smaller than
a year earlier, but about the same as in February.
SLrJIV' OF FL L'B
REVIZ".' OF RFC T L. VLL' L:.:! lTS
BACK:CUI-D After having been maintained at
a relatively high level in the first half of
1936, prices of lambs declined steadily from
July through :;.ov,.mbtr. A sharp rise which
started in late December continued through the
first half of January, when the top price of
lambs at Chicago reached i11. Prices of
slaughter lambs and ewes again advanced about
mid-March. Top prices at Chicago durLng the
week ended March 20 reached $13.25 for fed
lambs anda$8 for slaughter ewes, the highest
for the month since 1929.
Lamb pricess irregularly lower in late March,earlj AriJl
Prices of both fed lambs and ewes declined irregularly in late March
and early ;.:ril, but some recovery occurred during the second week of
April. The top price of fed wooled lambs about mid-April was $12.85 and the
cormarable top price on shorn lambs at this time was 310.90. Prices of
c.o.id and choice spring : lambs at Kansas City in late March and early April
were from $1.50 to $2 higher than a year earlier. Small supplies of
California s.i-in lambs at Eastern markets in late March sold at about $13.
S ring lambs: Average price per 100 poun.'s, Kansas City,
by weeks, April 19.6 and 1937
".,'E k ceni d
J. : Apr.4, : ,.r. 11, : Apr. 3, Apr. 10,
:1936 :1936 1937 : 37
:Dollars Dollars Dollars I: r
Choice L/.....: 10.62 10.78 12.61 12.33
Good 1/......: 10.24 10.32 11.92 11.*,
i/ Quotations based on owe and wether lambs.
Sheep, lamb slaugherht slitly smaller than year earlier
Inspected slaughter of she-_- and lambs in March, totaling 1,312,000
head, was about equal to that in February but 5 percent less than in
March 1936 and slightly below the average for the month in the preceding
5 years. In March and early April, Western fed lambs continued to comprise
most of the supplies at the leading markets, but the movement of Texas sheep
and lambs is now under way. The market movement -of new crop spring lambs
has been light, and California spring larb supplies at most Eastern markets
in March were limited to small Easter receipts. Average live and dressed
weights in February and apparently in March were above average.
REVIEW OF THE EARLY LAMB SITUATION
The early lamb crop in March made about average seasonal development
generally, although temperatures were too low for favorable growth of feed,
Moisture has been generally ample, and good feed conditions are expected
with the coming of warm weather. The lamb crop in most areas is late
as a result of unfavorable early growing conditions or delayed date of
lambing. And the proportion of early lambs to be marketed before July will
be much below average, even with very favorable weather and feed conditions
during May and June.
Large marketing of Texas grass-fat yearlings expected
In west Texas and in the Edwards Plateau area, the source of most
of the Texas sheep and lamb supplies, ranges are in good conditions for
spring grazing. Although cold weather in late March retarded the rate of
development of ranges and sheep, and to some extent delayed shearing,
recent rains have provided needed surface moisture. Marketings of grass-
fat yearlings and wethers from Texas during the next 2 or 3 months will
be large, perhaps as large as the record movement in the spring of 1931.
Cold weather; marketing s will be delayed
In California, rainfall was general in March and soil moisture is
now ample; but during much of the month, cool weather retarded the growth
of feed, except in the more southern areas. In most of the San Joaquin
Valley and in the southern part of the State lambs have developed fairly
well, and most of the lambs in these areas will finish into good slaughter
lambs. Marketings from San Joaquin Valley are getting under way in fair
volume with most of the lambs sold on contract. Although the feed situation
improved somewhat during March in the Sacramento Valley and in other northern
areas of California, which usually furnish the greater part of the lambs
for Eastern shipment, cool weather held back growth of feed, and at the end
of March feed conditions were much below average. Early lambs in these
areas did not make much recovery in March, following the unfavorable weather
and feed conditions in January and February. Present prospects are that
Eastern shipments of slaughter lambs from California before the middle of
June will be much smaller than average.
In Arizona, sheep and feed conditions are g od and moisture supplies
are ample, but cold weather has delayed the finishing and marketing of
In the Southeastern States (Tennessee, Kentucky and Virginia),
feed prospects are good and early lambs will be of good quality, but because
of the delayed date of lambing there will be a small supply of lambs for
market before July 1. The lamb crop in this region probably will be at
least as large as in 1936. Death losses have been small, and the nu.imber
of living lambs per 100 ewes that had lambed by the end of March was
about the largest ever reported.
In most of the Corn Belt States, especially those west of the
Missizsippi River, pastures are late and feed is generally short. In
Missouri, the principal early lamb State, pastures during March were very
short and other feed was scarce. The proportion of ewes labing before
April 1 was the smallest in recent years and lambs have not done well.
-;rketings will be later than usual.
In the Northwestern States (Idaho, ,'aLshington and Oregon), low
temperatures in March tended to delay the growth of pastures and ranges
and to hold back the development of early lambs, in spite of favorable
moisture conditions. Early lambs in Idaho have developed fairly well,
and as a result of a shift from late to early lambing in some areas, the
early lamb crop this year is expected to be larger than in 1936. In
"ashir..t;n, early lambs have made rather slow development as cold, wet
weather retarded the growth of pastures, but future feed prospects are
excellent. In Oregon early death losses have been large, and the crop
is smaller than that of last year. Moisture conditions are good but warm
weather is needed. Marketings from both Oregon and '.ashington will be later
BACKGROUND In the March issue of this report the
follo.'irig conclusions were stated with respect to
the outlook for sheep and lambs:
(1) Prices of spring lambs will be higher at
the beginning of the new marketing season in late
April and early May than a year earlier.
(2) Marketings of new crop lambs will be smaller
for the most part until the end of June, and prices of
spring r..b probably will be fairly well maintained
ldring this time.
(3) Marketings of fed lambs will be considerably
smaller than a year earlier and prices of such lambs
will be well maintained during the remainder of the
fed-lamb marketing season.
(4) The relatively large movement of grass-fat
y. -:rliL,7s from Te:
will affect prices of spring lambs to some extent.
Little change in the outlook for lambs has occurred during the last
month. Prices of spring lambs are expected to continue well above the
levels of a year earlier during May and June, in view of the stronger
consumer demand for meats, the smaller marketing of spring lambs this year
than last, and the higher prices for wool and pelts during this period
than a year earlier. Because of the probable delay in marketing, the
seasonal decline in new crop lamb prices which usually begins in early June
is likely to start somewhat later than usual this year.
In the late feeding areas of Colorado, IHelraska and Wyoming, the
number of lambs remaining in feed lots in early April was estimated to be
about 10 percent smaller than a year earlier. Since the marketing of fed
lambs front other areas has been about completed, the supply of fed lambs
to be marketed in April and May will be smaller than in the corresponding
period last year. However, the indicated reduction in marketing of early
spring lambs and fed lambs in the next 2 months, as compared with a year
earlier, probably will be accompanied by an increase in marketing of grass-
fat yearlings and wethers front Texas.
SULIMMARY OF 7'OOL SITUATION 1/
Domestic wool prices probably will show little change during the early
months of the 1937 marketing season which begins this month. Price changes
in the latter part of 1937 will depend to a considerable extent upon the
demand front domestic manufacturers and on price changes in foreign markets
when the new Southern Hemisphere selling season opens in the fall.
Consumption of wool by domestic nills continued large in February and
is expected to continue at a relatively high level for the next few months.
It is possible, however, that the high activity in January and February
may have been at the expense of activity later in the year.
Because of large imports in recent months, supplies of wool in the
United States on March 1 were estimated to be slightly larger than a year
earlier but were below the average of recent years. However, stocks of old
clip domestic wool were small, and dor-stic production In 1937 is not
expected to show nuch change from that of last year.
Apparent supplies of wool in the five principal Southern Henisphere
wool producing countries on March 1 wre estimated to be about 6 percent
smaller than on the sane date of 1936 and 11 percent below the average on
that date of the 5 years, 1931-35.
The recent firmness in the domestic market probably was the result of
higher prices in foreign markets. Interest in domestic wools has now shifted
to the 1937 clip. Prices for new wools were reported unchanged to slightly
higher in March.
l/ Excerpt from summary of the April issue of The Wool Situation, a
regular monthly report of the Bureau of Agricultural Economics.
ujpplies of sheep and lambs, year 193l and March 1937, with coL .prisons
Year : Month
It em Unit Average : r : Mar. Feb. .Mar.
S1924-33 1 : :ra924-33 1936 .1937 .1
1924-33: : :1924-33 1936 1937 1937
slaughter L/ :
Sheep and lambs
?ccipts at seven
: 14,737 17,644 17,216
:3/15,241 12,312 11,892
1,159 1,374 1,315 1,312
11,232 1,?02 833 855
Year : Month
Lambs and yearlings thou-
Number ..........: sands
Percent ".e of
total sheep and :
Sheep : thou-
Number .........: sands :
total sheep and :
Average live weight: pound
Total dressed weight mil.lb:
13,678 16,400 15,647
92.8 93.0 90.9 93.6
1,059 1,244 1,356
7.2 7.0 9.1
81 84 85
90.3 92.4 93.8
69 127 129 81
9.7 7.6 6.2
91 5? 90
1/ Bureau of Animal Industry.
2/ Chicago, Kansas City, Omaha, Denver, St. Joseph, Sioux City, and St. Paul.
3/ Average 1929-33.
Price per 100 pounds of sheep and lambs, by months, January-March,
S.1935 1936 : 1937
:Jan. : Feb.: Mar. Jan.' Feb. Mar.
Good and choice ........: 8.81 8.54
Common and medium ......: 7.52 7.46
Good and choice .........: 4.10 4.64
Conmon and medium ......: 3.41 3.70
Focding lambs, Omaha:
Good and choice ........: 7.22 6.85
Ave r.goe price paid by
Shcep and lambs .......: 8.54 8.28
Average price received by
Sheep ................ 3.30 3.78
Lambs ...................: 6.21 6.65
Lanb, New York:
Wholesale, carcass i/:
Choice ..................:19.10 17.69
Good ................. ... 17.98 16.61
Medium .................:16.98 15.61
Good ................... :24.35 24.11
Pulled wool, Boston 2/:
Choice AA .............: 74.0 70.8
Choice White B ........: 57.0 56.2
Sheep pelts, packers'
shearlings, No. 1,each 0/ : 0.59 0.69
1/ 38 pounds down.
2/ Cents per pound, scoured basis.
j/ Bureau of Labor Statistics.
8.17 10.48 10.00oo
7.20 9.32 9.06
4.87 4.82 4.61
3.82 3.90 3.75
6.32 9.59 9.26
9.90 10.29 10.33 11.88
9.04 8.68 8.75 10.59
7.96 9.55 8.86 9.39 9.50 9.88
3.83 4.34 4.29 4.36 4.24 4.45 4.81
6.67 8.25 8.31 8.10 7.92 8.12 8.83
-4.04 25.43 24.37 23.98 23.85 22.62 24.75
95.2 98.9 97.0 118.6 120.0 113.5
80.3 82.0 80.2 104.2 103.5 96.0
0.72 1.25 1.14 1.08 1.46 1.50 1.51
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
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