I':ITLD STATES LE'ARTME TIT OF ACHRIC'ULTUPl,
Bureau of Agricultural Economics
SLS-12 December 20, 1937
THE SHEEP AND LAMB SITUATI O N
The average price of lambs in the current fed-lamb marketing season
(December-April) probably will be lower than in 1936-37, the Bureau of
Agricultural Economics states, since the demand for meats and wool in this
period is expected to be weaker than a year earlier. Prices of lambs in
early December were slightly higher than those of a year earlier, but a
seasonal advance in lamb prices from January to April 1938, so great as
that which occurred during the early months of 1937, does not seem
probable. Should further weakness in consumer demand develop in the next
few months there might be no seasonal advance during this period.
Little change is expected in the total slaughter of sheep and lambs
in the 1937-38 fed-lamb season compared with that of a year earlier.
Although marketing of fed lambs probably will be larger than those of
1936-37, this increase may be about offset by smaller marketing of other
lambs and sheep. Present indications are that the number of lambs fed
this season will be larger than last in the Corn Belt States, Texas, and
Colorado, but that there will be a considerable reduction in the number fed
in other Western States, especially in the States west of the Continental
Divide. I OF rL L B
S US. DEPOSITORY
Lamb prices usually show little cl..in- dur ing the fall months,
but prices this year, after advancing in the first week of November, declined
during the remainder of the month. This d-clinc probably resulted -artly
from the decrease in consumer dcrand for meats that has occurred recently,
and partly 'ro... the decline in prices :f wool. Slaughter of sh..:- and lambs
decreased about seasonally from October to Novcmber. The n ..b-er of sheep
and lIzbs slaughtered under Federal ins action n in :o'.':mber, totalin-
1,321,000 head, was 14 percent smaller than in October and was the smallest
for the month since 1930.
c.' :".:.ZC : C C :r D L.T 7.::E:'S
BA.-.'.... .- Prices of slaughter l/--c declined
sharpl-: in the last 2 weeks of October, after a slight
rise early in the month. 7-r the month as a whole,
prices of good --r.i choice lambs at Chic.-:o averag,.d
^....-; this was 50 cents lower than in September but
$1.40 hi--..:r than in Cctober 179J. Slaughter s-_lis
of sheep and lambs from May through September 1937 were
lr: -r than a year earlier, chiefly as a result of
increased marketi:.-s of Texas yearlings. In October,
however, sl';:.;-.ter supplies decreased sharply, and
were the smallest for the month since 1929.
Lam prices decline further in.:. -_~*tr
Alt'r-,-:. slaughter supplies of shuep and lambs declined sharply in
.j,,:'vmo.r and were the smallest for the monthh since 1930, lamb prices
weakened further duri,,g the month. Prices of lambs usually show little
ch-;i,: in iovcmber, but :ftr .' ..cir." in the first we.ek of the month this
year, prices declined iuri.2-_- the following 3 weeks. The decline in prices
in October and i ;oveoor was due in soec measure to c.r-.asd consumer imcAnd
for meats resultin- from recent reductions in industrial activity and
c:-loymcnt and to the decline in prices for wool. The :vcrrag price of good
and choice zl---,ht..r lambs at C: i-.:- was w ,.6 per 1:3 rounds in November,
about 60 cents lower than a month earlier, but about 55 cents higher than
in November 1:,.
?Prccs of feeder 1--..: also d.cli-..d sh:.r iy duirng most of Nov-:mbr.
Prices of gaoi and choice feeder l'.'.LS at OR.ha averaged .?.7:' In :'ova.b-r,
nearly 50 cents lower than a month earlier, butabout $1.,_ higher than in
'.ov' .b.r a year earlier.
Slaughter su-.lies reduced seasonally
Slaughter of sh.ip and lambs under Federal inspection in November,
totaling 1,321,000 head, was 14 percent smaller than in October, and was
the smallest for the month since l'5-'. The decrease in such slaughter
from October to November was about equal to the average decrease which
occurred in the years 1924-33. Inzs-cted slaughter of sheep and lambs
during the period May through November 1937 (the grass lamb marketing
season) was about the same as that of the corres .ordir period in 1936.
In every month from May through September slaughter was larger than a
year earlier, but the increases in these months wore about offset by
decreases in October and November.
Lar:b foedin, situation
Recent reports indicate that the number of laTbs fed will be larger
this season than last in the Corn Belt States, Texas and Colorado, but that
the number fed will be considerably smaller in other Western States.
Unless slaughter in December this year exceeds by a considerable margin
the near-record sl-.u.-hter of December last year, the total number of labs
on feed on January 1, 1933, is expected to be larger than a year earlier.
Although the total number fed in the Corn Belt States is expected to be
larger this season than last, the distribution of feeding within the area
will be different from last year, with larg-r n::b rs fed in Illinois,
Iowa, Missouri, Nebraska and Kansas, and smaller numbers in :'ich.i;;-i: and
Ti-i, number of lambs fed in the ..'.:storn States as a whole is expected
to be considerably smaller this year than last. The' larger number in
Colorado will be more than offset by reductions in the other States,
especially those west of the Continental Divide, where the nrunbcr fed last
year was the largest in the 14 years of record. The increase of around
20 percent in the number fed in Colorado this year is the result of larger
feeding operations in northern Colorado, with little chan e in other
feeding areas of that State.
Shi:.....ts of feeder lambs from stockyards markets into the Corn Belt
States in I:.'ember this year were little different from those of November
1936, but for the 5 months, July through November, total shipments were
about 13 percent larger than in 1936. Available information as to the
number moving direct to feed lots in the Corn Belt States points to a
considerable increase in the movement this year over last year with much
of this increase bein' in direct shipmenits from Texas. Slaughter and market
records indicate that marketing of fed lambs in October and ::o'.cber
of this year were smaller than a year earlier. In Nebraska the number of
lambs fed this season will be considerably larger than the small number
fed last sLi.on, but will be below average. Most of the increase this
year over last will be in the Scottsbluff area and the Central Platte
Valley with the number in the former area about the largest on record.
In addition to the large direct i_-r..en'.s of lambs from Texas to other
states this fall, a record movement also has bten reported fror the main
sheep area of ,exas into other sections of that State. Althzu~.t lambs for
fir.;ishirn, on wheat pastures and in feed lots made u;: a large part of these
s.;i:.;r.s, considerable numbers of bre el:-.r- ewes and of wethers and of wether
lambs to be shorn and marketed off of grass next spring also were included.
BACKGROUI.D.- In the Annual Outlook Re ort issued by the
S.:r-i in early November, the follo in. indications
were given with respect to sl--_- L.er z:, lics and prices
of sheep and lambs:
1. The number of lambs fed this winter
probably will be lar -r than a year earlier. Most of the
increase will be in the Corn Belt States, where feed
s.. lies are much larger and f;:. prices considerably
lower than the-:: were last year. Hence, marketing of
fed lambs in the fed-lamb season, December 1937 through
April 1Q, will be larger than in 1936-37. Total
s --;'.:r supplies of sheep and lambs i! this period,
however, may be no lar-E:'- than a year earlier, since
marketinCs from sources other than feel lots probably
will be smaller.
2. At the t...ir..i.; of the fed-lamb marketing
season in December, -rices of lambs probably will be
r. .-.r than a year earlier, but the seasonal advance in
prices from January to .'.-ril next y3ar is expected to bo
less than in 1937. The av.r: .e .rice of lambs for the
fed-lamb season may be lowur than that ef 19t6-37, as
the demand for meats and wool may be less favorable,
The situation with respect to supplies of fAd lambs has not c..-:..-.-
much since the release of the Annual Outlook .":ort. Present indications
are that the number of fed lambs marketed duri:. th. current fed-lamb
marketi:- season (L*c -.br 1937 through A:r'l 1_',) v;i-l be lar._.r from
the Corn Belt States, as a whole, and from Colorado, Texas and ;::1 .:-.,
but smaller from nearly all :.estmrn States, cxc:rt Colorado.
In most areas weather conditions this fall have becn quite favorable
for fe*.ir,- o: .r tions and lambs have z-..l_ .,:: gains, Since the movement
of feeder lambs to f... 1n, areas were somewhat *.:.r icr than us- this
year and the avora-.. ...i-ht of feeder lambs f:-. most States was heavier
this year than last, it would :.-.-r that th- number .f 1--:s r -c'h.i.
marke-able condition before mid-February wi'. be relatively l-.r-e.
Ordinarily, under such conditions, it would be -..-I.c t. that fed la.bs
would be marketed in l -_- numbers in the early months :f the .sor.,
before :.'.rch 1, -1r, the other hand the ..r ; :.t level of prices of slaughter
lambs is low in relation to prices at which most feeder lambs were bought. It is
possible that marketings of fed lambs will be delayed somewhat by the present
price situation, and should this occur, the market supply later in the season will
include an unusually large proportion of heavy weight slaughter 1. as.
It now seems fairly certain that pricess of fed lambs inthe current market-
ing season will average lower than in the 1936-37 season, altho...`. prices in
early December were slightly higher than a year earlier. Prices of fed lambs in
Doce.ber 1936,' however, were at the lowest levels in the 1936-37 season. From
January through April 1937, there was a rather marked seasonal advance in prices
of fed lambs. In view of the recent weakness in consumer demand for meats, ad
the lower prices for wool, it does not seem _r;,.able that the seasonal advance
in 1--.1 prices in the next 3 or 4 months will be nearly so great as in the first
4 months of 1i37. SiI'uli further weakness in consumer demand develop, it is
posz_-Lle that no seasonal advance in prices of fed lambs will occur during the
remaindcr of the current season (up to zay 1, '1938). Ch:. ;: in prices from
month to month, however, will depend partly upon the distribution of marketing
of fod lambs during the season, which is now rather uncertain.
7WCL FRIC.3 SIT.UA.ON 1/
Average quotations for combi:-.: territory wools at Boston late in November
were fully 30 percent below the 1.i3, point of the first quarter i. this year and
were about 25 percent lov:wr than a year earlier. tir. recent ,-line in domestic
price. quotations '-.~:.arrntly was an adjustte.1t to the lower level of wool prices
in forei-.i markets. Even at the lower doncstic :r-ce quotations, however, very
little wool has been purchased b." mills in recent weeks.
ThL fairly large stocks of raw wool held by manufacturers and the large
stocks of finished and s'emi-finished _-r. tog-ether with the decrease in mill
activity probably account for the lack of trading in the domestic market. As
stocks of finished and semi-finished goods are reduced in the next few months
some increase in purchases of wool probably will occur. This increase in
purch-sz: -.i :t occur at the present level of prices.
S-- lics of apparel wool in the United States at the b-: -.l.n:,- of the
new marketing season on April 1, 19 r are likely to be about average anr larger
than a year earlier. Sup -1ies on Novoeib r 1 :; ere smrallr than on that date in
any of the 5 years, 1930 to 1934, but were larger than in 19"- and 1936. At
the c. -irnmin,; of November ..p.rcent supplies for disposal in the five principall
Southern H.-m1isr-.nre exporting countries for the remainder of the 1937-1:' selling
season were slihiltly larger than a year earlier but were -.r t eq':.l to the
average. for that date in the 5 years, 1931-35.
Will consumption of apparel w ool on a scoured basis in the United States
in October was 36 percent smaller than in October 1936 and was the smallest
monthly cornsarmption since October 1934. Because of the l.r-. mill consumption
in the early Lonths of 1937, consumption in the first 10 months of this year was
about the same as in corresr:'..in. c months of 1936. It is probable that mill
cons r.'ti:n has continued small since October, and consumption in the first
quarter of 1)3 crjbaeily will be smaller than a year earlier.
I/ :'rof tahe ODc-r.lr issue of the Demand and Price Situation, a monthly report
of the Bureau cf Agricultural Econri)ics.
u.u .lies of shoeo and lambs, year 19 and November 1937 with
Year : Month
Itnem. Unit :Average 135 196 averagee :NovO: ct. '!c.v
:1924-3 12-33 1930.1937 .1937
T.. ..cti i slaughter :
of sheep and lambs : thou-
/ ................. : sands : 14,737 17,"44 17,216 1,104 1,544 1,530 1,321
Receipts at seven
iarket s /........: : _/15,241 12,512 11,892 3/1,209 1,039 1,546 813
19 : 193- :
924- : :
S Aug. July
13 : aver:: : 19 :1937
:1i- 33 :
Ins c-. :i slaughtcr-:
Lambs and yearlings: thou-
IUun cr ..... ...: sands :
and la:nos .....: prccnt:
Sheep : thou-
1.....:'.r ....... ... : sands
Percentage of :
total she-p and :
lairib s ..........: rcer nt:
.:". e live :.eight :pound
i '.t ........... .: :
Total dressed :eight::.il. Ib.
13,673 16,'00 15,647
92.L 93.0 90.9 2
1,059 1,244 1,5,9
7.0 9.1 7
61 84 635
39 40 40
569 701 "
1,314 1,539 1,524 1,'?49
2.7 C383 91.2 F.2
103 203 147 181
.3 11.7 8.8 11.8
30 :3 84
3S 39 39
54 60 64 59
I/ Bureau -f Anir.al Industlry.
2/ Chic o, Kc.zsAs City, 0:mai., Denver, St. Jc.-:e _i, Sioux City and St. Paul.
31' AveraLc 102C-.;3.
Price per 100 pounds of shop and lambs, by months Septnober-November
S 1935 : 1936 : 1937
Iterm *.3c.t.'Oct. 'Nov. "Sept. Oct.:Nov. 'Sopt.: Oct. : Nov.
Good and choice ..; 9,34
Common and medium : 7.86
Good and choice...- 3.46
Coiinon and. medium : 2.63
Good and choice...z 8.53
Average price paid by
.h,:p and lambs ..: 8.34
Average price received:
2h -; ............: 3.77
Lambs ..........: 7.23
*:ho l c z l
Choice ...... :1.84
Mcd iud ......:16.08
Go od ........ 25.35
Pulled ... 1,E :.eon 2/-:
Cil c.i : AA ...: 81.6
I. .. 0.... : 71.5
Sh~ep p i1 ..l, "':ers
shnc rli -, i1. 1!
coach ... .........: 0.62
3.36 4.71 3.37 3.40 3.78 4.04
3.02 3.92 2.17 2.12 2.46 3.01
8.67 9.00 7.55 7.12 7.06 9.60
8.20 8.85 8.22 7.75 7.92 9.46 8.74
3.-' 3.09 3.60 3.52 3.58 4.35
7.38 7.57 7.43 7.25 7.23 8.57
25.08 24.49 27.14 25.19 23.96 29.42
86.9 91.5 92.0 92.5 99.4 103.7 96.5 E-.9
74.9 78.1 77.0 76.2 83.1 85.8 79.2 71.9
0.82 0.92 1.02 1.03 1.02 1.31 1.24 0.94
Cci-ni' iF cr :-.und.
Buri-:.., O' L .bor Statistics.
3 1262 0886lllll lllll 1 ll5249
3 1262 08861 5249