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UNITED ST.T:-E. DEPART.;iiT OF .'.GRIC;.; Lr.::"i
Bureau of Agricultural Economics
SLS-15 :'orch 21, 1938
THE S HEEP AND L AM SITU AT ION
Prices of spring lambs from late April through June probably will
average lower than a year earlier, the Bureau of Agricultural ZEconomic
states. Though total slaughter supplies of sheep and lambs during the late
spring may be no larger this year than last, consumer demand for meats
will be weaker and prices of pelts lower than a year earlier unless there
is a marked upturr. in industrial activity and employment.
The early spring lamb crop in the .ri.-cipal early lambing states
is at least 15 percent larlcr this rear than the small early lamb crop
of 1937. Marketings of early spring l1I:ba before July 1 will be materially
larger than markctings in this period last year, but the increase may be
about offset by smaller marketing of grass-fat yearling lambs from Texas*
Prices of fed wooled lambs, after declining in December and January,
advanced in late February and early March, axr-cntly as a result of a
seasonal reduction in slaughter suc-lies of sheep and lambs. In early
March, however, prices of slaughter lambs at Chicago were more than $2 lower
than those of a year earlier.
REVI: 7" :' C.:.7' LE'. 'L:? .;ST
BACKGROUND.- Prices of slaughter lambs, after d.clir,i:i
contra-scasonally in November, dro; :.d further durln,,
December and January. Prices of fed wooled lambs at
Chicago in January were more than $2 lo:'.er than a ;:..r
earlier, and were the lowest for the month since 1933.
Alth.o'ii. slu..g::ter supplies of sheep and lambs increased
seasonally in December and January, they were smaller
than a year earlier. Weakness in consumer demand for
meats, and lowvir prices for pelts and wool, apparently
were the factors chi fly r.: onsible for the lower lamb
La:.b prices advance in late February and early March
After : clarir.in; relatively stael during the first 3 weeks of
February, prices of fed, woolcd lam;is advanced fairly sharply in late
February and early arch, ;':--. cntly as a result of seasonally re-dullc
supplies. 7-.: the ::cek ended March 12, prices of good and choice sl-urhter
lambs at C,.i z-o ave-r :- $9.20, nearly $2 higher than in early Fe.-bruary,
but t:.ere than $' lov7cr than in early IIarch 1937. They also were somewhat
lower than -rices of good and choice feeder lambs, at Cmaha, in Septe.-:ler
Sliu-ht r ..rl iz. reduced seasonally
The number of shoe and laobs sl- .-htered under Federal inspection
in Fer'J:.i :y totaled 1,424,:-'. head. This was 8 percent smaller tnan the
sl .-ic..r- in January, but nas about 8 percent larger tha- in Fel' '.:r:- last
year. d cc .y data for 12 markets indicate that the seasonal reduction in
receipts and slaughter of sheep and lambs, which usually occurs in early
F:rr2r':y, did not get under way until the third week of the aonth this year.
A further reduction in market rcci. ts cccurrcd in early March. Although
receipts increased durlir. the second week of L:-.rch, they were still somewhat
smaller than those of a month earlier.
Inspected slaughter of 4,3'1,,000 sheep and lambs in t he first
3 runths (,.c:..b :-February) of the current f.--lamb marketli::. season was
5 *-rcent smaller than in the corresponding -.ried a year earlier. Average
live :.:ci.-:ts of sheep and lambs sl'u-ihtCred during this period, however,
woce cli-h'r.y heavier than those of a year a0o, although the proportion of
sheop in the total 1=: hter .Iwas small r.
I.cre sheep and lambs were shipped from the principal f'.;.ir; areas of
Colorado and from the Scottsbluff section of Nebraska during January and
most of February this year than last. The number of lambs remaining in
feed lots in northern Colorado, the Arkanses Valley, and the Scottsbluff
section on LIarch 5 totaled about 970,000 head, which was about 20 percent
more than a year earlier and somcv.what mor- than on the corresponding date
2 years ago.
Larger early spring lamb_crop rIportcd
The early spring lamb croe of 1938 in the principal early lambing
States is at least 15 percent larger than the small early crop of 1937,
according to recent reports received by th; _ureau. The condition of
the early l:LmbL about Mlarch 1 was exceptionally good in all areas. Weather
and feed conditions to March 1 were favorable in nearly all of the early
lambing States a shar contrast with the. situation in some of these
States during the early-months of 1537.
Present conditions indicat- that the marketings of early lambs
before July 1 will be im-.torially larger thn to that date last year, and
that the average quality of the larnbs marketed will be much better.
Mr.:;:ctitrs before July 1 of grass-fat jcanrin laambs from Texas, however,
are expected to be considerably smaller than the record large marketing of
last year. A much 1 -r. er-than-usual proportion of Texa.s lambs were sold
as feeders last fall for feeding in Texas and other States.
In California, the most irmortant early lar-b State, and where the
bulk of shipments of eirly laambs usually occurs from late April through
May, the winter has been mild, and feed conditions have been exceptionally
good. Similar conditions have rr..v--iled in the other Pacific Coast States
and in I4':n.
Feed and weather conditions in Texas have been favorable for the
development of early labs, and for the fattening of yearling lamibs to be
In the Southeastern States, where the winter also has been mild and
feed supplies abundant, the proportion of owes that had lambed by March 1
was about average for the area and was much larger than the unusually small
proportion that had lambed by that date last year.
Stock sheet_ numbers reduced slightly in 1937
Although the number of sheep and lambs on feed January 1 for market
was about 11 percent larger than on the same date in 1937, and the second
largest on record, the number of stock sheep and lambs on farms was slightly
smaller than a year earlier. Fewer stock sheep were reported in nearly all
of the important western sheep States, except Texas and :Jy.c.r.ing.
In Texas, sheep numbers have increased sharply since about 1920.
Stock sheep and lambs in that State on January 1, 1933 numbered about
9,100,000 head, 4 percent Iore than a y-ear earlier, and nearly 20 percent
of all such sheep r.d 1.acbs on fArms in the U:Aited States.
Stock sheep and lambs;: ':.rbor or flrns January 1, 1.- ;c graphicc
divisions, averages 1920-',, annual 1,..5-3,
S North .' :th South South esUnitd
Ye ar : t.- *: Cetnttl :
: Atlantic. Central i.tlatic Central c States
:Thot:r-..i. Thousands r' .r. i3 Thousands Thousands Thousand"
1' .1-24....: 1,1 7,1.- 1,171 5,234 19,624 34,315
193 -29.....: 1,062 7,926 1,1 9 6,346 21,952 j ,485
1 :-3....: 1,064 10,6c 1,391 9,052 25,251 47,366
19: .........: 9>: 11,1., 1,305 9.233 24,030 46,6-4
1936.........: 9.P 11,423 1,251 9,364 23,423 46,3' 1
1937.......... 929 11,078 1,172 10,320 23,-5- 47, '-l
1936 1/.....: 904 11,142 1,169 11,2l: 22,296 '4,797
_ Prul iminary.
With the early spring l'n.b crop of 1933 reported to be at least 15
pcrc;nt l.rger than that of 1937, z.r1 to be larger in ne:.rly all of the
earl lanbing a-cas, :mrketings of spring la.nobs from late April t'.roLI.h
Jur this year are expected to be con iderably larger th:-. a year ;.'-
Inc .-eased 1:rketinrs of new-crop 1'..t -, however, nay be about offset by
s: .ilor ma-rketi. s of Texas gr.-s;-fat yearling la..ibs. Shi: -... s of shcL
ad la:.1bs fr cxas, including ship.enrts to Fort W'orth, fror :. '-ril through
J- n 11 7 vwore unusually large. Such shi..:.. i.ts totaled nearly 1,250,.03
h. ad in thr.t i2riod, --.-. .red with loss than f-.,000 hcad in the r--rrcs''n.ing
p :ri d of thn previous yoer, and a 5-year (1931-35) avcri--e of m- ut 60;',?i'00
hoad for the ..-io.
Although total sl. .tcr su plies of shcp and l:.bs during. tAi srrirg
ncnt:.s r.ay be no 1 r-or than in the s ri..- of 1937, consumer demand for .eats
will be considerably -~oeecr, and prices of .lts wiill average considerably
lo- r than a year .-o, unless thler< is a very sharp upturn in industrial
aci Lvity and e.: loyr.ont. ::-.3, ices of new crop la:bs also are likely to
be o-.;ar this spring than la.t, wvhun pricess of *--:. and choice spring lambs
ct 1..c'_-- av.r .-. about $12 .r 100 pounds.
WOOL /IT.i.IION -
Supplies of apparel wool in the United States at the beginning of
the new domestic wool marketing season on April 1 will be larger than on
that date in 1936 aid 1937. And present indications are that world stocks
of raw wool will be larger on April 1 than they have been since 1935. A
loan program on wool by the Federal Government was recently approved by
the Cormodity Credit Corporation. The loans will be available to all
producers and will be made at Letween 15 and 22 cents per pound on a grease
basis at Boston.
Ap'ppr Eit supplies of wool in the five principal producing countries
of the Southern Hemisphere on February 1 are estimated at 1.5 billion
pounds, or 23 percent larger than on the same date last year, and 5 percent
greater than on February 1, 1935, which also was a year of relatively large
The 1938 shorn wool clip in the United States may be slightly smaller
than that of 1937 as the number of stock sheep'on hand on January 1 was
smaller than a year earlier. Total production of shorn and pulled wool in
the United States in 1937 amounted to nearly 433 million pounds. This
estimate includes 66 million pounds of pulled wool.
Trading in domestic wools continued light in February. prices in
the Boston market were irregular and further declines ;ere reported on
most wools during the month. Average prices for combing territory wools
at Boston in F-.brui.r; were about 40 percent lower than in February 1937.
The movement of wool prices in foreign markets was irregular in January
and February, but the general trend continued downward.
Consumption of apparel wool by United States mills in January showed
no improvement from the low December level. The January consumption was
more than 50 percent smaller than in January last year, and was smaller than
in any month since September 1934. The large stocks of finished and semi-
finished wool goods in the United States, which followed the large mill
consumption in the first half of 1937, probably '.ill be used up during the
winter and spring, With inventories reduced, some improvement in mill
consumption should occur during the firsthalf of this year.
Imports of wool into the United States so far in 1938 have been
negligible compared with the large imports in the early months of 1937.
1/ From the March issue of the Demand and Price Situation, a regular mid-month
report of the Bureau of Agricultural Economics. For a more detailed discussion
see the monthly Wool Situation, copies of which may be obtained on request to
the Division of Economic Information, Bureau of Agricultural Economics,
Washington, D. C.
Supplies of sh-eop and lmbs, spccified periods
Sear : Month
: Unit :Avcrage : 1936 : 1937 :average: Fob. Jan..
: :1924-33 : : :1'74-33: 1937 1938;
.h'_ ep and lambs :
Number s! ..l'.tred :
under .: ,. ral
ins actionn 1/....:
Receipts at seven
m I -,cts 2/ ........ :
-h .- :
sands : 14,737 17,216 17,270 1,086
do. :3/15,241 11,892 11,470 3/1,130
1,315, 1,552 1,424
: Year : 'o nth
: : : Jan.
Avorace 19'6 1937 :avcre: Jan. Dc. Jan.
S1924-33 :1924-33: 1937 1937. 1938
S1-: ter under
Federal inspection: :
Lambs and yearlin.s- :
'.:r'-er slaughtered :
Percentage of total:
.'loep and lambs...:Porcent:
Sh op: : Thou-
Lm'iunr slaughtered: sands
Percent.: : of total
sheep and lambs.. :Percent:
L r:ep and laLibs:
Average live wAi :.t: Pound
Average dressed wt. do.
7T t-; dressed ,,t. :. Li.lb.:
_/ B- oau o Aina1 Indumtry.
2/ C ica-go, V1anlsas City, COnika,
.3/ A ragc 19?"-33.
13,670 15,647 15,912
1,059 1,569 1,3%,
1,134 1,571 1,3-1
93.0 92.4 .?.S 2.-
85 129 102 115
7.0 7.6 7.2 7.4
81 5 s5 C6 C9 0 90
39 40 40 40 41 41 42
569 680 6 3
49 70 58 65
Deliver, St. Jo.:-i:, Sioux City aLd St. Paul.
Price per 100 pounds of sheep and mlmbs, by monthshs, December to February
1935-36 to 1937-3C
S 1935-36 : 196-37 : 1937-38
Dec. Jan. Fh. Dec. Jan.
: Dol. Dol. Dol.
Feb.' Dec. Jan. Feb.
Dol. Dol. Dol. Dol.
Slau .iter lambs,Chicago: :
Co)d and Choice....... 10.92
commonn and LIedium ....: 9.56
Slaughter ewes, Chicago: :
C-ooc and Choice.......: 4.75
Common and Medium..... 4.02
FcGo-'in- lambs, Omaha:
Goce and Choice.......: 9.76
Avere -e price paid by
pac l rs-
Si op and lambs ......: 9.87
Average price received by:
Sh,-p ..................: 4.21
Lambs .................: 8.15
La mb, New York:
Whc ls.Ie carcass: 1/ :
Choice ...........: 19.94
Good ............: 19.02
Medium ...........: 17.94
Pulled wool, Boston: 2/ :
Choice A...........: 91.5
choicee White B ....: 7.35
Sheel pelts, packers
shev :lings, No.1,Chicagc:
each 3/ ................ 1.13
8.87 10.29 10.33 8.70
7.26 8.68 6.75 6.98
3.85 3.94 3.89
2.97 3.08 2.94
9.59 9.26 7.14 ,476 8.81 7.95 7.49 -6.92
8.66 8.19 9.50 9.38
4.34 4.29 3.F5 4.24 4.45 3.16
8.25 8.31 7.26 7.92 8.12 7.48
95.2 98.9 107.6 118.6
80.j 82.0 95.1 104.2
1.25 1.14 1.32 1.46 1
120,0 79.9 77.8 71.4
103.5 61.5 60.5 56.2
1.50 0.68 0.72 0.72
1/ Choice and Good, 38 pounds down; :odium, 38 pounds down, 135-37, all
we'.ghts in 1938.
2' Cents per pound.
2' B_. i. of Labor Statistics.
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