UNITED STATES DEPAIRTMSKT OF AGRICi'LrURE
Bureau of Agricultural Economics
7N ish i:!gton
SLS-16 April 20, 1938
THE S H E-EP AND L A I B S I UA T I 0 '
Because of continued favorable conditions for development of new
crop lambs, and for finishing of yearling lambs in Texas, total slaughter
of sheep and lambs in May and Junr is e:;rxcted to be larger than a year
earlier* the Bureau of Agricultural Economics states.
The early spring lamb crop is at least 15 percent larger than the
small early lamb crop of 1937. A month ago it was thoJ .;,t that increased
marketing of new crop lambs might be offset by reduced marketing of
Texas yearliin lambs. Although marketing of such Texas lambs during the
remainder of the spring probably will be materially smaller than the
record marketia-s of a year ago, this reduction is not likely to be gr'at
enough to offset entirely the prospective increase in marketing cf early
Prices of newcrop lambs in May and June probably will continue
considerably lower than those of a year ago. In early April, prices of
such lambs at Kansas City averaged nearly $3 lower than in the corresponding
period of 1937, partly because of relatively large supplies of fed lambs,
and partly because of marked weakness in the consumer demand for meats and
relatively low prices of pelts. r.," :'..*.T' DuT
L" DE EPO ,ITORi',
REVIEW OF nEChiT DEViEL!'l.:TS
BACiGROUnjD.- During Deconber and J--nuary, the first 2 months
of the fed-lamb marketing season ('rcorber April), lamb
prices declined sharply as a result of increased slaughter
suprli~. of sheep and lambs, weakness in the consumer iema-nd
for meats, and declining prices of pelts and wool. The price
decline was halted in mid-Fibru-.ry. In late February and early
EMrrch, lamb prices rose sharply, lIrg:lyas a result of a
seasonal reduction in slaughter supplies.
Lamb prices fluctuate widely in March and carly April
Aftcr -.dvancin. sharply in late February and early March, lamb prices
then declined until they had lost about half the gain made. earlier. In late
March and early April, however, lamb prices again turned upward. The wide
fluctuations in lamb prices from late February to early April --pparently
were caused largely by fluctuations in market receipts of sheep and lambs.
For the week ended April 9, the price of good and choice fed wooled
lambs at Cl.ic-.o aver-.gcd $3.53 per 100 pounds, about $1.25 higher than
at the low point in February, but about 5.50 lower than in the corresponding
week a year ago.
Prices for gcod and choice early spring lambs at Kansas City in the
first week of April avcr--eed $9.25 per 100 pounds, nearly $3 lower than a
SliuZ hter supplies increase less than seasonally in March
Although March has 3 more marketing ir.i. than February, the number
of sheep and la:ibs sl-.ughtered under Federal inspection in March, totaling
1,428,000 head, was loss than 1 percent l:.r:.r than the seasonally small
sl.--'ghtor of F-bru-ry. The March siambhntcr, however, was 9 ~-crccnt larger
than that of a year earlier, andvas the second lar,7 -t for the month on
Durin- the first 4 months of the fod-lamb marketing season, i.tlcctod
slaughter of ::-Tc: and l1-rbs totaled about 5,e:87,,. hc.:J. 2 percent smaller
than in the cerr:e3.n1Zin_: period a year aro. 31S.u-Thter was smaller than that
of a year earlier in Dc;:.:,br end January, but was larger in Fobrua-r and
S';-pnmnts of shcop .hd i~rl s from the principal fo. dir. aroas of
Colorado ci `_ -st:Lrr N-ebraska front January through March were considerably
larger this yeCar thin last. On April 2, the number cf s~'.c- and lambs
rcemairirng in faced lots in northern Clcrado, the Ar...:as V~-.loy, and the
Scotts? Luff section was osl...'.:.ci to be approxi:ct tly ".I',C'. heod, about
110,5.; head 1ir,.": than at the same timo last yea: ad also ccnsidorably
larjcr than 2 years ago, Most of these oshc.p a.d lambs prob-bly will have
been marketed by the end of April.
Shipments out of State of early spring lambs from California
through April 9, totaled about 8,000 head, compared with shipments of about
17,000 head to the corresponding date a year ago. The first shipments of
spring lambs from California this year were of rather heavy weight, with
many lambs scaling 86-92 pounds at the shipping point. A large proportion
of the early lambs shipped were of I.ovember and December lambing, averaging
about 5 months of age.
Small lots of native spring lambs were available at several markets
in early April, and several shipments of Arizona spring lambs arrived at
Kansas City. Some native, Colorado, and Texas spring lambs arrived at
Chicago in early April, as well as the first consignment of Tennessee
spring lambs on direct billing to packers.
Conditions continue favorable for early lambs
With exceptionally favorable conditions for early lambs in the
principal producing States during January and Fubruary, and in many areas
during March, winter lambs continued to grow rapilly, and lambs dropped
during March made a favorable start. The weather during March was
unusually mild, and moisture was generally ample. Pastures and grain fields
made unusual growth, and green feed was generally available for ewes and
Continued heavy rainfall in California in March, however, tended to
keep the grass rather soft and rank in the northern part of the State
and to delay somewhat the finishing of the early lambs. In the other
Pacific States and in Idaho, too many wet, cloudy days, and rather cold
weather late in the month handicapped the growth of the lambs, but
promised abundant, early range feed.
In all other States, both weather and feed conditions were quite
favorable. Marketing of early lambs from Arizona and California got
under way by the middle of March and nearly all the early lambing States
were expected to have some lambs ready by the end of April, with a
heavy movement probable during May.
In Texas, yearling lambs and wethers have gained rapidly, and the
shearing of these was fairly general by early April. Marketings of grass-
fat yearling lambs in late April and May may be somewhat larger than was
Oexpected earlier, as apparently some wheat-field lambs that ciL ht have
been marketed by early March have been held to be shorn and marketed later.
Shipments of early larjbs and shorn yearling lambs from Texas in April and
May, however, are expected to be considerably smaller than the record
shipments in those months last year.
Supplies li.:rely to continue larger than a year ago durr.in prLng months
In the March issue of this report it was indicated that total
slaughter su rlics of sheep and lar-,s duringthe sprn.:_ months ngaht be
no larger than in the spring of 1937. It now sa.oe's, however, that total
slaughter of sheep and lambs in the spring months may be larger than in
the spring of 1937,
With the early spring lamb cr p indicat.-d to be at least 15 percent
larger than that of a year earlier and with rather favorable conditions
for the development of newc ap lambs in Fvbruary -.ndl March, the slaughter
supply of now crop lambs in April, .Iay and June is expected to be materially
lar-er than that of a year earlier. In addition, marketingC of fed
lambs in A.-ril and May -,ro.ibbly will be somewhat larger than those of a
year earlier. Shipments of shorn y.-Lrli.ig l-.bs -.r.i early spring lambs from
Texas probably will be considerably smaller than the record shipments
last spring. It does not seem ;robtIleo, however, that the decrease in
shipments of Texas lambs will be sufficiently gr-rt to offset the
prospective l.tgc increase in total spring supplies of new crop lambs.
Market supplies of lzzbz after June will depend partly upon the
size and condition of the late lamb crop. In view of the favorable f oed and
pasture conditions, it is probable that a larger than usual number and
proportion of the early lamb crop will be nm.rkt d by the end of June.
Last yar the proportion marketed before July was relatively small.
Cor.zequcntly, unless the late lamb crop is materially larger than last year,
the supply of 1937 lambs available for slaughter and feeding after June may
be smaller than that of a year earlier.
Lamb prices to remain below those of last xrinG
with prospects for relatively large sl-'-urhter zup:lies of sheep and
lambs during the spring months, and for continued weakness in consumer
demand for meats, no marked :.i.'.c. in lamb r ric: seems .r.c-tble this
spring. Prices of spring lam.z,, which in earl:,' April were about $3 lower
than those of a year earlier, are likely to continue well below those of
last year d .ring May and June.
WOCL SIiTU.T.'i 2i
The domestic wool price situation was strengthened in March by the
announcement of a Federal Government loan program for domestic wool and
by slightly higher prices in foreign. markets. In view of the relatively
large carry-over of wool into the new season, domestic prices are not
likely to show a material increase until there is a marked improvement in
the wool nan-ufacturing situation.
Mill consumption of apparel wool in the United States in February
showed some increase over the unusually low level of the previous 3 months.
The February consumption, however, was less than half as large as the
consurm'tion in February 1937 and was the smallest February consumption in
the pact 20 years of record.
United States imports of wool thus far in 1938 have' been n-Eligible
compared with the large imports in the early months of 1937. In view of
the present small mill demand and the relatively l:.rge stocks of domestic
wool, imports in the first half of this year no doubt will be nuch smaller
than in the corresponding months of 1937 and 19'6.
Exports of wool from the five principal Southern n!.ls-ac:re producing
countries for the 1937-38 season through February were 23 percent smaller
than in the sare period of 1? 6-37 and smaller for that period than in any
of the 10 :ears, 1927-28 to 1936-37. Chiefly as a result of the srall
exports, ap zrcnt su'pies in the Southern Hemisphere countries on March 1
were estimated to be 27 percent larger than a year earlier and 20 percent
larger than averg=- March 1 stocks for the 5 years, 1932-36.
/ Fro_, the April issue of the Dc::-.r.i and Price Situation, a mid-nonth
report of this Bureau. For a more detailed discussion see the monthly
Wool Situation, copies of which ray be obtained from the Division of Economic
Information, Bureau of Ag-ricultural Economics, T.'as. n-ton, D. C.
Sheep and lambs:
lur.mb r :1I filhtered : :
under Federal : Thou-
inspection /.......: sands
Receipts at seven
markets 2/...........: do. :
14,737 17,216 17,270
1,159 1,312 1,424 1,428
3/15,241 11,3l 2 11,470 3/1,232 855 823 900
Average : 1936 1937 :aver re: TEb.' Jan.: Feb.
1924-33 : :124- 33:1937 :1933 :1.33
Zlnughter under Federal :
Lambs and yearlings- : Thou-
Number slaughtered..: sands :
Percent a.- of total :
sheep and lambs.....Perccnt:
Sheep: : Thou-
:IuL: a slaughtered..: sands
Percentage of total :
s.- : arid 1--i j....:Percent:
She amd ] ..s: :
Averabe livu "'ight.: Pound
Av.rt;e dressed : do.
Total dressed weight:I:il.lb.:
13,678 15,647 15,912
1,059 1,569 1,358
1,017 1,234 1,437 1,326
69 81 115
6.: 7.4 6.8
81 .35 5 SC 9': 90 91
35 0 40 !1 41 42 42
569 607 636?
1/ BP:r'.i of Animal Industry.
2/ C ica:. Kansas Cit.,, .h-., ;.-.vor, Lt. J::c h, Sioux Cit' -nd 1.* I'aul.
3/ Average 1929-33.
Suprlies of sheep and lambs, specified periods
SYear :__ Month
U: nit :.Avere 19 : : ar. : Mar.: eb. Mar,
1 U.-33 1924-33:- 7 1`:383 1933
;..9 92.1 93.6 93.8 92.6 ?3.2
Prices per 100 pounds of sheep and lambs, by months, January March,
--- 1 36-- ~~ 1937 193
SJan. :Feb. :Mar. :Jan. :Fub.
:Dol. Dol. Dol. Dol. Dol.
9.90 10.29 10.33 11.88
9.04 8.68 3.75 10.59
5.36 5.24 5.52 6.62
4.36 3.55 4.26 5.08
5.87 8.76 8.81 10.08
9.39 9.50 9.83 10.99
Good and Choice....:10,48 10.00
Common and Medium..: 9.32 9.06
Good and Choice....: 4.82 4.61
Common and :c.diufl..: 3.90 3.75
Feeding lambs, Omaha:
Good and Choice....: 9.59 9.26
Av ra-7e price paid by
Shicc and lambs....: 9.55 8.86
Mar. Jan. :Feb. : Mar,
Dol. Dol. Dol. Dol.
3.94 3.89 4.76
3.o0 2.94 3.46
7.49 6.92 7.69
Average price received by :
sh... p .............*: 4.34
Lambs .............: 6.25
Lamb, New York:
7/hol: el o carcass: i/ :
Pulled wool, Boston: 2/
Choice AA .........: 95.2
Choice White B ....: 00.3
Sheo r, Clts, -'ckrs
shc:rlinris, No. 1,
Chicao, each ....... 1.25
4.29 4.36 4'.24 4.45 4.81
8.31 8,10 7.92 0.12 8.83
96S. 97.0 113.6 120.0 11.3.5
82.0 30.2 104.2 103.5 96.0
1.14 1.08 1.46
_1 Choice and Good, 38 -pc.i3s down; "Lodium, 38 pounds down in 15J: a id 1937,
all wights in 1936.
2/ Cents per pound.
3/ Bureau of Labor Statistics.
77.8 71.4 71.5
60.5 56.2 55.5
1.50 1.51 0.72 0.72 0.65
----- ~-`---- --- ~
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
llill lII I I l I IIlIII IIIlIIIII IlIIIIllI
3 1262 08861 5389
SHEEP AND LAMBS: PRICE AT CHICAGO AND FEDERALLY INSPECTED
SLAUGHTER, AVERAGE 1924-33, AND 1937 TO DATE
-HSL 5NC, S
S I 1
----CIA&CE rRM OLD CROP TO BS CROPBA5
SLAUGHTER OF SHEEP AND LAMBS
MAR. MAY JULY SEPT. NOV.
NELG 257 I R BUAU CP AGR CCMTAL JR C- ONOIw S
EDfcIsa-ameT or &ICU; u..ti