The sheep and lamb situation


Material Information

The sheep and lamb situation
Physical Description:
30 no. : ; 28 cm.
United States -- Bureau of Agricultural Economics
U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Bureau of Agricultural Economics
Place of Publication:
Publication Date:


Subjects / Keywords:
Sheep industry -- Marketing -- Statistics -- Periodicals -- United States   ( lcsh )
Lamb meat industry -- Statistics -- Periodicals -- United States   ( lcsh )
serial   ( sobekcm )
federal government publication   ( marcgt )
statistics   ( marcgt )
periodical   ( marcgt )


Statement of Responsibility:
United States Department of Agriculture, Bureau of Agricultural Economics.
Dates or Sequential Designation:
SLS-1 (Jan. 1937)-
Dates or Sequential Designation:
Ceased with SLS-30 (June 1939).
General Note:
Title from caption.
General Note:
Latest issue consulted: SLS-24 (Dec. 20, 1938).

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
oclc - 01642958
lcc - HD9436.U5 A2
System ID:

Related Items

Succeeded by:
Hog situation
Succeeded by:
Beef cattle situation
Succeeded by:
Livestock situation

Full Text

Bureau of Agricultural Economics
S" .Washington

..,.. June 1 19, 1939

F ------ ------a------r--------

:ghter supplies of lambs may not be quite so large this summer

W Jiast. The quality and finish of lambs marketed will be lower. A

't- i :ativeiy 1&rge proportion of the western lambs will be in feeder flesh.

:in lns'in late May and early June relieved drought conditions in

i r .,the Native and Western sheep States. But in a large part of the range

p:0. t5 more moisture will be needed for a good growth of feed. Although the

;' coanditioa of sheep and lambs in the Western States. was slightly below

Average, a good late lamb crop was reported in most areas.

s .. 3 e,"of the dry weather and shortage of green feed, the number

1 i~ ibs saved per:100 ewes probably will be less than the record high

S:iser saved in 1938. The expected reduction in the percentage lamb crop,

)twever, will be offset, at least in part, by the increase in the number of
:;..:::il: on htd this year over a year earlier. The official estimate of the

^9.'a crop will be rloased July ?2.

Prices of spring lambs declined sharply in late May and early June,

"* :^ier having held fairly steady during April and early May. For the week

.: &' i June 10, the average price of good and choice spring lambs at Chicago

-" $9.75 more than $1 lower than a month earlier and only slightly
.":. e .' : 'than a year earlier.

IT .spected slaughter of sheep and lambs in May was a out 1l,8g..r

ftgoro than in April, but it was 10 percent less than in May ast-yesar,-

.- .
,I,. .,

Review of Rec',nt Developments

Background.-The numnb.r of sheep and lambs slaughtered under
Federal inspection in the past fed lamb marketing season,
December through April 1933-39, was about 5 percent less than
in the 1937-38 season. The average weig-ht of sheep and lambs
in the 1938-39 fed lamb season was the-heaviest on record,
and the total live weight of sheep and lambs slaughtered was
only 4 percent less than in 1937-38. Chiefly because of the
stronger consumer demand for meats, prices of fed lambs in
the season just ended averaged about 75 cents per 100 pounds
higher than a year earlier. Total packer payments for sheep
2nd lambs slaughtered under Federal inspection in the 1938-39
fed lamb season were about 6 percent larger than in the 1937-38

Prices decline in May and June

After advancing moderately in early May, prices of spring lambs de-
clined fairly sharply in late May and early June. The average price of
,o-pd nn-a choice s-ring lambs at Chicago for the week ended June 10 was $9.75
compared with *'bo--.; $10.90 a month earlier and $9.65 a year -earlier. Prices
of 1' -and choice sHorn lambs (old crop) did npt change greatly during May
but dropped sharply in early June. Prices of slaughter ewes declined season-
ally in Na.y and early June.

As indicated in the following ~ table, prices of spring lambs held
fairl:" stean;,- uiluring April and were $1.50 to $2 higher 4-hn a year earlier.
In late Mav and. early June last year,: prices pf spring lambs strengthened
noderately in contrast to the sharp decline in the corrcosonding period of
this year. By early June of this year, prices of spring lambs wero only
sli.itly higher than in early June 1938.

Prices per 100 pounds of Good and Choice spring lambs at Kansas
City and Chicago, by weeks, April-June, 1938 and 1939 l/

'ec'c e,- ci : Kansas City : ChicaFo
-.s of 1 : 139 : 193 : 1939 : 1918
Doll-Lrs Dollars Dollars Dollars

Apr. 1 10.40 S. 8
6 10.38 S.96
15 : 10.46 S.82
22 : 10.48 8.41
29 : 0.38 8.24 10.41 --
-y 6 : 10.56 8.42 10.68 -
13 : 10.58 7.86 10.88 8.31
20 9.48 s.72 10.70 8.94
27 9.62 g.62 10.25 8.62
June 9.78 3.s4 10.25 9.26
10 9.16 9.00 9.75 9.67
2j Lots -verrjging within top half of Good grade.


- 2 -

Marketings of sheep and lambs increase in May

The number of sheep and lambs slaughtered under Federal inspection dur-
ing May totaled 1,392,000 head 14 percent larger than in April but 10 percent
smaller than in May last year. The smaller slaughter in May than a year earli-
er reflects the reduced supplies of both spring lambs and grass fat yearlings.

The market movement of early lambs from California was practically com-
pleted by the end of May. The eastward movement of early lambs from California
this year was nearly as large as the record movement of 590,000 head in 1935.
A larger than usual proportion of the early lamb shipments from California went
to feed lots. There was some movement of early lambs from Idaho in late May
and early June, but relatively few native spring lambs had been marketed by
early June.


Prospects for the 1939 lamb crop

Rains in late May and early June relieved the drought situation in most
areas of the western and native sheep States. Pasture conditions on June 1
were the second lowest for that date on record. The shortage of.pasture prob-
ably tended to check the growth of lambs in the native States. Supplies of hay
and feed grains, however, are abundant in most areas, and native lambs probably
maae fair gains during May and early June.

Although conditions in the range States were improved by rains in late
May, more moisture will be needed for a good growth of feed. The condition of
ranges on June 1 was the third lowest for that date in the 16 years of record.
The condition of lambs in the range States on June 1 was below average, but
lambs were reported'to be in fairly good shape in most areas. The weather was
favorable for lambing during May, and a good late lamb crop is reported in most
sections of the western sheep States.

Early lambs in Idaho, Oregon and Washington reflect the shortage of
green feed, and a larger than usual proportion of these lambs will not reach
slaughter condition and probably will be sold as feeders.

In the principal sheep area of Texas, where drought conditions had be-
come severe by early May, summer range prospects were improved materially in
late May by rains. Losses of lambs in Texas during the spring were heavier
than a year earlier, and marketing of yearlings from that State got under way
somewhat latcr than last year. The movement of yearlings from Texas in June
and July is likely to be large. It is probable that a relatively large number
of the yearlings and early lambs marketed from Texas this spring have been sold
as feeders.

The official estimate of the 1939 lamb crop will be released on July 27.
Weather and feed conditions in most areas this year were less favorable for
lambs than the unusually favorable conditions last year. The number of lambs
saved per 100 ewes (one year old and over on January 1) in 1939 probably will
be smaller than the record number saved last year. But this decrease in the
percentage lamb crop will be offset, at least in part, by the increase in the
number of breeding ewes on hand. The number of stock sheep on farms on January
1, 1959 was 3 percent larger than a year earlier.


- 3 -

SL -?0

Swumier sliufhter may be slightly
smaller than in 1938

Slaughter supplies of sheep and lambs this surnier may not be quite so
large as last summer. Thf summer slaughter supply, however, will include a
relatively large number of fed lambs from the early lamb crop that were not
suitable for slaughter whtn they were marketed in the spring. The quality and
finish of lambs marketed this summer will be lower than a year earlier as a re-
sult of the poor pasture and range conditions during the past spring.

Consumer demand for meats may improve moderately, or at least hold fair-
ly steady, during the remainder of 1939. Prices of wool have advanced somewhat
in the past 2 months. Both of these factors should be strengthening influences
to prices of live lambs.


The outlook for disposal of the 1939 domestic wool clip continues favor-
able. Prospects are for a fairly high level of domestic rill consumption in
the next few months, although probably not so high as in the first quarter of
this year. The trend of consumption in the late fall and winter will depend
partly upon changes in business conditions in the second half of the year. The
steady demand for wool in foreign markets and relatively small supplies in
Southern Hcmisphere countries should be strengthening factors in the domestic
wool situation, at least until the new Southern Hemisphere clip becomes avail-
able in the fall.

Sales of wool in the Boston market and at country points were large in
May and the early part of June and prices advanced. Mixed lots of country
packed 3/8 and 1/4 blood bright fleece wools available for immediate shipment
from producing areas were sold in the week ended June 10 for 31 cents a pound,
grease basis, delivered to Eastern markets. Prices for these wools have ed-
vanced about 4 cents a pound since the middle of April. Early in June last
year when prices were at the lowest point of the season similar wools of
the 1933 clip were offered at 23 cents a oound. Prices of new clip wool at
country points are now closely in line with quotations for graded spot wools at

Domestic mill consumption of apparel wool declined sharply in April from
the high level of the previous 8 months but was only 2 percent below the April
average of the last 10 years. consumption on a scoured basis in the first 4
months of this year was 85 percent larger than in the same months last year but
smaller than in the like period in 1936 and 197. Mill orders for fabrics for
the fall season are reported to be much larger than a year earlier.

In the early months of this year the spread between domestic and foreign
wool prices was wide enough to attract fairly large imports to the United
States. Imports of apparel wool for consumption from January through April to-
taled 27 mill'cn pounds compared with only 5 million pounds imported a year
earlier. Imports are likely to decline in the next few months.
I From thr June issue of the Demand and Price Situation. For more detailed
discussion see the June issue of the Wool Situation, copies of which may be ob-
tained upon request from the Division of Economic Information, Bureau of Agri-
cultural Economics, Washington, D. C.


Supplies of sheep and limbos, specified periods

: Year : Month
: : : : May : : :
Item : Unit : Av. : 1937 : 1938 :average: May : Apr. : May
: :1924-33: : :192-33: 193 : 1939 : 1939

Sheep and lambs::
Number slaughter-
ed under Federal
inspection 1/ :
Receipts at
7 markets 2/

sands : 14,737
do. : 15,241


Slaughter under :
Federal inspection:
Labe and. yearlings-
Number sleaghter- Thou- :
ed : sands : 13,678
Percentage of
total sheep :
and lambs : Percent: 92.
Number slaughter- Thou-:
ed : sands: 1,059
Percentage of
total sheep
and larmbs : Percent: 7.2
Sheep and lambs::
Average live
weight : Pound : 81
Average dressed:
weight : do. : 39
Total dressed :
weight : Mil.b.: 569

17,270 18,060 1,192

11,470 11,783 1/1,055

1,550 1,224

883 4/ 764


/ 640

Year: Month
: : Apr. :
1937: 1933 :average: Apr. : Mar. : Apr.
: :1924-33: 1938 : 1939 : 1939

15,912 16,884


1,081 1,354 1,o0 1,l8

93.5 92.8 95.0 95.3

1,358 1,176

6.5 7.2


84 71 69 76




85 85 84 87 93 89

40 4o 40 41



43 42

46 58 63 51

Bureau of Animal Industry.
Chicago, Kansas City, Omaha, Denver, St.
Average 1929-33.

Joseph, Sioux City, and St. Paul.

Receipts for sale only excludes shipments not offered for sale and


II I I I II lllllllll1111111 III
6 3 1262 08739 2246

Prices per 100 pounds of sheep and lambs, by months,
March May, 1937-39

1937 : 1938 :1939
Item *
em Mar.: Apr.: May :Mar.: Apr.: May :Mar.: Apr.: May

Dol. Dol. Do]. Dol. Dol. Dol. Dol. Dol. Dol.
Slaughter lambs,
Good and choice :/ :11.66 11.95 2/ 9.64 8.32 7.91 / 7.10 9.12 9.98 2/ 8.75
Medium and good 3/ :11.01 11.38 2/ 8.76 7.51 6.92 / 6.24 8.38 9.06 2/ 7.64
Slaughter ewes,
Good and choice .... : 6.62 5.67 4.50 4.76 4.82 3.62 5.02 5.70 4.05
Common and medium .. : 5.08 4.17 2.93 3.46 3.41 2.69 3.69 4.30 3.00
Feeding lambs, Omaha:
Good choice ........ :10.08 10.20 -- 7.69 7.21 -- 8.21 --
Average price paid by
Sheep and lambs .... :10.99 10.92 9.69 8.27 7.91 7.37 8.73 9.19
Average price received
by farmers:
Sheep .............. : 4.81 4.98 4.89 3.97 3.90 ?.59 3.99 4.19 3.94
Lambs .............. : 8.83 9.19 9.16 7.35 7.23 6.90 7.43 7.88 8.02
Lamb, New York:
Wholesale carcass: 4/:
Choice ........... :20.28 21.05 21.32 18.33 18.66 18.52 17.87 20.28 21.48
Good ............. :19.35 20.05 20.20 17.69 17.95 17.88 17.20 19.30 20.60
Medium ........... :18.34 18.85 18.88 16.48 16.09 16.39 15.81 17.80 19.10
Pulled wool, Boston: 5/:
Choice AA .......... :113.5 113.8 110.0 71.5 72.1 72.5 76.8 74.0 75.5
Choice White B ..... 96.0 93.0 94.2 55.5 56.5 57.5 63.2 61.0 64.6
Sheep pelts, packers
shearlings, No. 1,
Chicago, each / .... : 1.51 1.55 1.48 0.65 0.52 0.52 0.75 0.75 0.75

i/ Lots averaging within top half of Good grade.

4/ Shorn basis.
/ Lots averaging within top half
/ For Choice and Good, 38 pounds
all weights in 1938 and 1939.
/ ents per pound.
Bureau of Labor Statistics.

of Medium grade.
down; for Medium, 38

pounds down in 1937, and