UNIT iD STATES DEPARTMiENT OF AGRICUL.TRE
Bureau of Agricultural Economics
SLS-14 February 21, 1938
T : E SHEEP AND LA B S ITUAT ION
Although lamb prices usually advance during the fed-lamb marketing
season (December through April), prices in December and January declined
sharply. In January the average price of lambs was the lowest for the month
since 1933, the Bureau cf Agricultural Economics rcorts. 'ith a seasonal
reduction in slaughter supplies e.,pocted in.the next'2 months, however, some
advance in lamb prices may occur, unless consumer demand for meats and prices
of wool and pelts show further weakness.
The number of sheep and lambs slaughtered under Federal inspection in
January was larger than that of a month earlier, and was the third largest
for the month on record, though smaller than a year ago. Since the number of
sheep and lambs c-. food January 1 was about 11 perc.:nt larger than a year
earlier, marketing of fed lambs during the remainder of the fed-lamb season
probably will be larger than those .of a year earlier, but this increase may
be partly offset by smaller marketing of Texas grass-fat yearling lambs in
March and April. Monthly slaughter of sheep and labs from February through
April probably will be seasonally smaller than in January.
U IrJj OF FLL'
REVIEW C7" R.C:'' D:;..VLCFi.i:T3
B..CI..FOP;i;'D.- Chiefly as a result of seasonally larger
sl^l.i.h r supplics, la.b prices declined. from June through
September 1937. A fourth. r price decline occurred,
contraseasonally, in October and liovcmb-cr because of weak-
ness in the consumer demand for meats and sharp declines in
prices of r-LltS ad wool. Inspected slaughter of sheep
and 1.-.rblc from May through September 1937 was larger than
that of a year earlier, chiefly as a result of increased
markctii..3 of Texas yearling lambs. In October and November,
however, slaughter supplies were reduced sharply. Total
slaughter for the period from May through IIo.'cr:'-r (the
grass lamb marketing season) was about the same as that of
the previous year but considerably larger than the average
for the 10 years, 1924-33.
Lamb price decline continued through January
During Doccmber and January, the first 2 months of the fed-lamb
marketing season (December th.-:i,,h April), lamb prices declined further,
alth-ugh they usually advance somewhat in this period. The decline apparently
reflected increased market supplies of sheep and lambs, as well as further
weaEkness in consumer demand for meats and lower prices of pelts and wool.
In the first week of February, prices of good and choice zclughter
lambs at Chicago averaged $7.25 per 100 pounds, nearly $2 lower than in
early December and about $3 lower than a year earlier. Prices of good and
choice feeder lambs at Omaha declined more than $1 during December and January,
and in early .bru:.ry, .o:'.er:gin ri ..95, were about l$.50 lower than a year
The current business recession, in addition to h-,ving had an adverse
effectt on consumer incomes and demand for meats, also has resulted in a
.sl.ckenirn in textile and leather manufacturing activities, and has seriously
affected prices of wool and pelts. Quotations on prices of pulled wool at
Boston in January averaged about 15 percent lower than in November, and 30
percent lower than in '.:.;-ut, when the business recession first became
evident. Quotations on prices of pelts at Chicago in January were approxi-
mately 25 percent lower than in Novcrbor and 40 percent below the August lvecl.
Su-pli_-s increased, but smaller than a year earlier
The number of sheep and lambs slaughtered under 'cdcral inspection in
January, tot .iir.- 1,552,000 head, was 11 percent l-rg:-r than in December and
17 percent l'.r- r than in 'ovembsr. Though the number sluL,_htered was 9 percent
smaller thar. the larj-- slaughter in January last year, it wsas the third largest
for the month on record.
Shipments of lambs from the principal feeding areas in Colorado and
from the Scottsbluff area in Nebraska for the 5 weeks ended February 5
totaled 1,490, cars, about a third more than in the corresponding period a
year ago but fewer than 2 years earlier. The number of lambs remaining in
feedlots of the Northern Colorado, Ar!lansas Valley, and Scottsbluff sections
on Fcbra.ry 5 was reported to be 1,265,000 compared ;,ith 1,100,000 on the
corresponding date last year and 1,295,000 in 1936. Average live weights
of sheep and lambs marketed in recent ,woks have been heavier than those of
a year earlier.
Western range condition i,: .i
Most of the western winter ranges were open during : January. Fan.
feed was reported to be ample west of the Main Range and along the Eastern
Slope, but was poor to fair in the Great Plains sections where soil moisture
continues to be short. Sheep onx western ranges on February 1 were in very
good condition. Weather has boon favorable in the northern areas. The
condition of sheep is generally abovo average except in limited areas of the
Great Plains thet were dry last fall.
Marketi-.js of fed lambs during the rer.inder of the present fed-lamb
season probably will be considerably larger than those of a year earlier.
This increase over last year may- be partly offset, however, by smaller
marketing of Texas gr-.:.3-fat yearling labs, since the proportion of the
1937 T'. xas lamb crop sold as feeders in the fall was much larger than the
proportion of the 1936 crop sold. It was indicated in the Annual Outlook
Report for sheep, lambs, and wool for 19 3: that the number of sheep and
lambs slaughtered in the current fed-lanb marketing season, December 1937
through April 1938, might total about the same as in the corresponding period
a year earlier. Since s i.lu ht-r in December and January was about 10 percent
smaller than a year ago and the num.bcr of sheep,and laibs en feed January 1
about 11 percent larger, it is probable that slaughter supplies duri-i' the
remainder of the present fed-lamb marketing season will be larger than a
year ago. Monthly slaughter supplies during this period, however, probably
will be seasonally smaller than in January.
In California, prospects for early 1-irbs were very favorable in
December and January,and it .is probable that the early lamb crop in that State
is materially larger than the small crop of last year. Conditions also have
been favorable in Arizona and in other early lambing States.
The decline in larb prices during the r.,st 3 months has been very sharp.
.Alth-'A,1h prices from.: July thr-'i;,-h Otobor 1937 were the highest for those
::onths since 1929, prices in January av rc.-i r.:ore than $2 lower than a year
earlier and were the lowest for the nonth since 1933. With a seasonal reduction
in slaughter supplieu of sh. c.,. ndL n bz expected far the period from February
'".rc- h April, however, it chp .:rs that some increase in larb prices may take
place durin.r- the next 2 months. The extent of this advance, should it occur,
will dcp:.-rni partly on the degree tc which sl-aulhter supplies are reduced, aid
partly on changes in consumer demand for mects and prices of pelts and wool.
If business activity rouains relatively stable near the prcs.,.t level during
the next few months, the demand for mcats probably will not weaken much further.
ChlL .:.'s in ladb prices after Atril will depend largely on the outcome
of the early sprinL: lamb crop and on the general trend in business activity.
It is fairly certain, however, that prices of spring labs at the beginning
of the season in April and May will he considerably lower than those of a year
Annual Livestock Inventory, January 1
The annual report cf livestock numbers on farms
January 1, and of value per head, was released
February 17 by the Crop Reporting Board. CoIies may
be obt::ined on r'e.lct to the Division of Econonic
Information, Bureau of Agricultural EconoLiics,
":s i .: :;ton, D. C.
The number of all sheep arn lambs on January 1,
19>3, was 52,91l,0'. head, which was 330,000 head
rLr er than a year earlier. The nr:.bl:r of stock sheep
was smaller than a year ago, but the larger number of
la-bfs on feed brought the total above last year. The
number of stock sheep was belcw a year earlier in
nearly all of the important 7', stern sheep States except
T *.: -'.:.. Wyo:.in-, and the total in the 13 Westorn
Shcup States was 406,000 head smaller. The value ,.:r
head, $6.12, of all L|:.r ani la;:bs was 10 cents higher
than a year earlier, and the total value of $323,746,000
was about $7,400,000 larger.
WOOL PRICE SITUATION 1/
.'col prices both in the United States and in foreign markets in the
first half cf 1938 will be affected by large supplies of raw wool, with no
ir. cdiate '.i osl..cts for recovery in iill consumption. Since stocks of wool
in this country are now much larger than a year earlier, and with
consum.ptio:n in the next 3 or 4 months expected to bc considerably smaller
than in 1937, stocks about April 1, when the new doomstic clip becomes
available, probably will be materially lar- r than a year earlier. The
increase in stocks at the beginning of April over a year earlier, however,
may be less than the increase on January 1 because imports of wool in
early 1938 will be nuch smaller than the I.r:- i ::.rtt- in early 1937.
Mill consumption of apparel ocol, in the United States in December
was more than 60 percent s:ialler than in Dccmriber 1936 and was the smallest
December consu.iption since 1920. Because of the large consumption in
the early monthshs of the year, consu;ptrio n n a scoured basis, for the year
1937 was only 11 percent smaller than in 1936 and 10 percent smaller than
Alth:'u .-i. Uited States inmorts of apparel wool for consumption,
amounting to 150 million pounds in 1937, were the largest since 1926, most
of the 1937 i... ..:rts entered this country in the early monthss of the year.
Since last May imports have declined sharply and in Io-.' b.:r and .,cc.:.i or
they were about 70 percent smaller than a year earlier,
The improvcrmnt r..: .-rtcd in foreign wool markets in Deccmber was
not maintaincd in January and trading in the donostic market was light.
The failure of domestic mills to rcsumo buying in January even at the
moderate rate of December and the weakness of prices in foreign markets,
was accompanied'by small declines in domestic wool prices in the second half
of the month,
_/ Fro:a the February issue (February 17) of the Demand and Price Situation,
a L.onthly report of the Bureau of Agricultural Economics.
Sheep and laribs:
Nunbor ::1 .-ii crred
Receipts at seven
SM Ye.r : month
S: : : Jan. : : J
Unit : Avragu 1936 : 1937 averagee: Jan Dec.. Jan.
1: 92-33 :1924-33: 1937; 1937 19738
..: sads : 14,737 17,216 17,270 1,219 1,700 1,403 1,552
do. :/15,241) 11,392 11,470 3/1,188 1,006
Year : Month
: Doc. :
:Averago : 1936 : 1937 averagee: Dec.. Nov.. Dec.
.1924-33 :::1924-33: 1936: 1937: 1937
Slaughter under Federal :
Lr.,Z3 and yearlings: : Thou-
Nunber slaughtereo..: sands :
Percentage of total :
sheep and laoibs ...rPercent:
Sh.c : : Thiu- :
NuLber slaughtered..: c .r.s :
Percentage of tctal:
she: a and larbs....:Porce:t:
:Thecp and labs:
Aver:-,c live .;eight : Pound
wei-L ............ do.
Total dressed wci i't:Mil.lb.:
13,678 15,637 15,912
1,059 1,569 1,358
1,117 1,447 1,201 1,301
92.9 92.0 90.9 92.8
05 126 120 102
7.1 6.0 9.1 7.2
81 85 85 84 38 35 33
39 40 40 40 41 39 41
56, 680 683 47 65 52 58
b.w,1'i of Anical Industry.
C'.ic. Kansas City, C..l.-:, Denvcr, St. Joseo., Sioux City, and St. Paul.
Average 190- -33.
Supplies of shocp and laIbs, specified zcriods
Price per 100 pounds of sheep and lambs, by months, Novembor to January,
1935-3" to 1937-38
193'-36 192g6-37 1937-33
SDec.. Jan.. Nov..D.C. .Jan. Nov..Dec.
: Dol. Dol. Dol. Dol. Dol. Dol. Dol. Dol. Dol.
Slaughter lambs,Chicago: :
Good and. Choice.......
Cormon and. edium....:
Sl daughter ewes, ChicaCo: :
Good and Choice .....:
Couaion and Meliui.... :
Feeding lar-bs, COriiha:
Good Vin Chcice......:
Avera-t price G.id by
Sheei: and lacbs .....
Av'xra-e price rcceivod :
Zh. c., ............... :
Lanb, New York:
Wholesale carcass: 1/
;ik liu ..... ......:
10.30 10.92 10.48
C,.7 9.56 9.32
8,37 10.29 9.46 8.70 8.02
7.26 8.68 7.86 6.98 6.60
4,71 Li.75 4182 3.78 4.10 5.2!1.
3.92 4.-3 3.90 2.46 2.78 3.35
99.0 9.76 9.59
8.65 0.'7 9.55
7.06 7.14 8.76
7.92 8.19 9.50
. .21 4.34 3.~ 3- 5 4.24
7.57 c-.5 3.25 7.23 7.26 7.92
3.99 3.85 3.94
2.84 -2.97 3.08
8.70 7.95 7.49
Pulled wool, Boston: 2/ :
Choice AL ...........: 91.5
Choice WLitu B ......: 73.1
She.::. pelts, packers
shearlings, No.l >ic-,:
each. ./..............: 0.92
91.5 )5.2 99.4 u 6 118.6 88.9
78.5 30.3 33.1 5.1 104.2 71.9
1.02 1.32 1.46 0.94 0.68 0.72
1/ Choice and Gcod, 38 pounds down; medium, all weights in 1938, and -3 pounds
2/ s* :us per pound.
3' Fur-eau <-f Labor Statistics.
UNivERNSITY OF FLORIDA
II II I Il Il ll llIlll 111111H 1 |II IIII 11111
3 1262 08861 5397
SHEEP AND LAMBS: PRICE AT CHICAGO AND FEDERALLY INSPECTED
SLAUGHTER, AVERAGE 1924-33, AND 1937 TO DATE
PRICE OF LAMBS, GOOD AND CHOICE
i I I
SLAUGHTER OF SHEEP AND
1,600 1-- 1938
1,400 ---- -
t -- 1
1m mm ao
MAR. MAY JULY SEPT. NOV.
BUREAU OF AGRCULTURA. ECONOMICS