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 Front Cover
 Table of Contents
 Introduction
 Farm management
 Animal management
 Economic analysis






Title: Hair sheep production in the U.S. Virgin Islands
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 Material Information
Title: Hair sheep production in the U.S. Virgin Islands management practices and economic analysis
Physical Description: 23 p. : ill., photos. ; 28 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Godfrey, Robert W
D'Souza, Gerard
University of the Virgin Islands -- Agricultural Experiment Station
Donor: unknown ( endowment ) ( endowment ) ( endowment )
Publisher: University of the Virgin Islands, Agricultural Experiment Station
Place of Publication: St. Croix ,V.I
Publication Date: 2001
Copyright Date: 2001
 Subjects
Subject: Hair sheep -- Breeding -- Virgin Islands of the United States   ( lcsh )
Hair sheep -- Economic aspects -- Virgin Islands of the United States   ( lcsh )
Genre: bibliography   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: United States Virgin Islands
 Notes
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references (p. 23).
General Note: Cover title.
Statement of Responsibility: written by Robert W. Godfrey and Gerard D'Souza.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00096182
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of the Virgin Islands
Holding Location: University of the Virgin Islands
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 51690254

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Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Page 1
        Page 2
    Table of Contents
        Page 3
    Introduction
        Page 4
    Farm management
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
    Animal management
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
    Economic analysis
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
Full Text
Hair Sheep Production
in the U.S. Virgin Islands
Management Practices and Economic Analysis


trev. Ph.D. and berard I0ouza. Ph.D.


written by Hobert W. t











About the Authors

R.W Godfrey is a Research Associate Professor and the Animal Science Program Leader at the University of the Virgin
lands Agricultural Experiment Station, St. Croix. G. D'Souza is a Professor of Agricultural and Resource Economics at
West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV. This research was conducted while Dr. D'Souza was a viiing agricultural economist
at the UVI Agricultural Experiment Station during the Fall of 1999. The support of Dr. James Rakocy, Experiment Station
Director, and the data input of Daniel Hogue, Associate Director of the UVI Small Business Development Center and the VI
Department of Agriculture, are gratefully acknowledged. The authors alone are responsible for the content Mention of a
trade name, proprietary product or specific equipment does not constitute a guarantee or warranty by the University of the
Virgin Islands and does not imply its approval to the exclusion of other products that may also be suitable.

contactt Information


R. W. Godfrey, Associate Professor
Agricultural Experiment Station
University of the Virgin Islands
RR 2, Box 10,000
Kingshill, St Croix VI 00850
phone: (340) 692-4042
FAX: (340) 692-4035
e-mail: rgodfre@mail.uvi.edu


G. D'Souza, Professor
Agricultural and Resource Economics
Division of Resource Management
West Virginia University
P.O. Box 6108
Morgantown, WV 26506
phone: (304) 293-4832 ext. 4471
FAX: (304) 293-3752
e-mail: gdsouza@wvu.edu


Publication design/production by Robin Sterns





Table of Contents
Introduction.. 4..............
Farm Management ......... ................... 5

S Animal Management ......... ........ ..............
Breeding Ewes ........ ...... ............... .
Ram s . . . . . . . . . .. . . . .... . q
Lam bs . . . . . . . . . .. . . .... . q
Replacement Animals ... . . . . . . . . .10
flock Health ................... 11
Feed and Water .......... .. ............ .. ....... 1z
*flock Records........................ .........14
M marketing .. . .. . .. .. .. . .. .. .. . ... .. .. .. 16
Economic Analysis........................ .......... 11
What is an Enterprise Budget? ............. ...........17
Summary of Results ..................... ......... 17
Establishment Costs ....... .................. 18
ioo-Head Operation ........................ 18
350-Head Operation ........................ q
Annual Costs and Returns .......... ..... ...... zo20
ioo-Hlead Operation ........................ 20zo
350-Head Operation ........................ ii
ULimitations of Analysis ............................ 2z
financial Feasibility Analysis ........................ zz
Definitions ................. ................... zz
References .. ............. ............... z3








Introduction


Sheep production in the Caribbean is limited
to the production of animals for meat with no
measurable demand for wool producing animals.
Since resources are limited in many areas of the
tropics, the use of sheep for meat production is
partly based on economics. Sheep can be raised
on small plots of land, require less feed than cattle,
produce multiple offspring and have a short inter-
birth interval. In addition, it is easy for a family to
purchase and store an entire sheep carcass as
part of their food budget.

The environment found in the Caribbean has
led to the development of livestock management
systems and practices that are unique to the
region. Because of the relatively small size of the
U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI) there is little land
available for growing crops that can be used for
livestock feed. In addition, the geographical
isolation of the islands makes it cost prohibitive
to import much grain for livestock. The majority
of livestock farmers on the islands use forage as
their main source of feed for animals. Rainfall is
limited to certain times of the year and can limit
the growth of forages.

Hair sheep are ideally adapted to USVI and
Caribbean conditions. The predominant breed
found in the USVI is the St Croix White, which is
a breed of hair sheep. There are also small
numbers of Barbados Blackbelly hair sheep.
Caribbean hair sheep breeds were developed
from animals that were brought to the West Indies
from Africa on trade ships. Once established in
the region, the sheep thrived on the tropical
grasses and, over time, livestock farmers selected
animals that possessed traits which made them
suitable to the local environment and production
systems. Some of the traits that were selected
for in hair sheep breeds include an absence of
fleece, breeding at all times of the year, prolificacy
and a tolerance of internal parasites.

In many areas of the Caribbean the amount
of land available for agriculture is limited and


sheep are the only feasible option for livestock
production. However, the economics of hair sheep
production in this area has not recently been
explored, and enterprise budgets pertaining to hair
sheep production in the USVI have not been
developed. This report is aimed at providing
information on: (a) management practices, (b)
initial establishment costs, and (c) annual
maintenance costs of hair sheep production in the
USVI. This information is directed at helping both
existing and prospective sheep producers make
better decisions. Budgets are included for two
herd sizes: 100-head and 350-head operations.
The information used to develop the budgets and
the management aspects of the sheep flock was
derived in part from the University of the Virgin
Islands Agricultural Experiment Station (UVI-AES)
Animal Science Program research sheep flock.

Production, cost and return information in the
budgets are estimates only. Ultimately, each
producer has a unique set of circumstances that
will necessitate a unique set of budgets. The
enclosed budgets can be used as a guide in this
process. In fact, each budget contains a column
entitled "Your Farm" to facilitate the process of
tailoring these budgets to an individual situation.








Farm Management


Fencing
Sheep can be easily con-
fined to pastures using wire
fencing supported by posts. A
common form of wire fence is
commonly called goat wire (Fig-
ure 1). This material consists of
a wire mesh with 6-inch spaces
in a square pattern and is pur-
chased in rolls of 320 feet. To
support the wire fence some
type of post is needed. Wood
and metal are both acceptable
for this purpose. To install wood
posts a hole needs to be dug in
the ground. This can be done
manually with a post hole dig-
ger or by using an auger on a
tractor. The metal posts are
pushed into the ground using a
post pounder. Wooden posts
have a shorter lifespan than the
metal posts. The wire fence is
then attached to the wooden
posts using staples or to the
metal posts using fence clips.
Another type of fence that
can be used to confine sheep is
an electric fence (Figure 2).
Electric fences can be powered
by standard household current,
batteries and/or solar panels.
Electric fences can be set up to
be permanent or portable. Por-
table electric fences are useful
in managing pastures by allow-
ing the farmer to confine the
sheep to a specific area within a
pasture for limited duration graz-
ing. The fence can easily be
moved to give the animals ac-
cess to other areas of the pas-
ture. In the case of adult rams, it
may not be wise to use an elec-
tric fence without first condition-
ing the rams to the fence and the
shock it can deliver, since they
tend to be larger and more ag-
gressive about getting to grass
or females in heat.


The fence is used to confine
the sheep and also to divide the
pastures into paddocks for the
rotational grazing system (see
Pastures section). Gates should
be put into the fence at convenient
locations for moving animals or
access to the pastures by vehicles
(trucks, tractors). Fences have to
be maintained routinely to keep
them in good condition. Repairs
need to be done when there is a
break in the fence or posts need
to be replaced.
Fences can also serve to de-
ter predators from entrance into

Saoail


the pastures. In the USVI the
most common predator is dogs,
although there are some cases
of theft as well. Even though no
fence is 100% effective in
keeping out predators, they do
provide a deterrent. Electric
fences provide a negative stimu-
lus in addition to providing a
physical barrier. Maintenance of
fences will also help in keeping
predators out. Any breaks in the
wire or damaged posts should
be repaired as soon as they are
detected to maintain the integ-
rity of the fence line.
1xury-s..


Figure 1. Wire fence supported by
metal posts. Fence ls attached to
the posts by metal dips after the
posts are pounded Into the
ground.
Figure 2. Electric fence powered by
solar panel and a battery. The
fence Is easily moved to partition
sections of the pasture.








PasitMur
Sheep pastures should be managed in a rota-
tional grazing system to best utilize the available for-
age. By rotating the sheep through a set of pad-
docks the grass quality will increase and some de-
gree of weed control will be achieved. It is also a
way of using ungrazed pastures as forage banks to
assist in getting through the dry season. Pasture
layouts for breeding ewes and growing lambs are
shown for the small (98 ewes) and large (338
ewes) flocks in Figures 3-6, respectively.
In the USVI the major forage species in most
pastures is guinea grass (Panicum maximum; Fig-
ure 7). Another beneficial plant that is found in many
pastures is the legume leucaena, locally known as
tan-tan (Lucaena leucocephala; Figure 8). An un-
desirable plant found in many pastures is casha
(Acacia spp.; Figure 9), which has numerous large
thorns. The thorns make the plant unpalatable to


(3.6 acres)









Figure 3. Representave pasture layout for the ewe
flock in the small scale operation (98 ewes on
29 acres). The dotted ine represents a water
Ine and ihe gray oval is a portable water Irough.


(2.5 acres)



......................


Figure 4. Representate 20-acre pasture layout for
raising weaned lambs In the small operation
(173 lambs per year).


the sheep, in addition to causing physical injury to
the animals that do browse it. Hurricane grass
(Bothriochloa pertusa; Figure 10) is also found in
many pastures, but it is a less desirable forage spe-
cies due to poor production and nutrient content.
Initial pasture preparation should be done to
remove any areas of brush and undesirable plants.
While doing this procedure it would be beneficial
to leave some trees in the pasture to provide
shade for the animals. It may also be beneficial
to level any high spots or fill in low spots to con-
trol water runoff and make it easier to run the
fences. After the sheep have grazed a pasture
and there is only stubble remaining, it is benefi-
cial to mow the remaining grass with a tractor
and a bush hog. This makes the entire pasture
uniform in the height of the grass and helps to
prevent faster growing weeds from overgrowing
the desirable forage species.


(6.3 acres)









-.-.--.-- .- ..- I -- -----



FIgure 5. Representative 101-acre pasture layout
for we flock in the large operation (338 ewes).

(& 78 acres)









Figure 6. Representative 70-acre pasture layout for
raising weaned lambs in the large operation
(609 lambs per year).








Stocking rates of sheep on tropical pasture
should be maintained at levels that will allow best
use of available forage. A average stocking rate
of 3.3 head/acre is suitable for the USVI, but this
can be adjusted to suit the particular forage avail-
ability on individual farms based on rainfall
amounts and time of year.


Figure Z Guineagrass (Panicum maximum) showing typical appearance of good pastures in the USVI.
Figure 8. Tan tan (Lucaena leucocephela) is a legume found in many of the pastures throughout the USVI.
Figure 9. Casha (Acaca spp) Is a weed found in many pastures. The spines on the plant (see Inset) make it low in
palatability and increase the potential to Injure animals.
Figure 10. Hurricane grass (Bothriochloa pedius) Is low In nutrients and palatability, but it is an aggressive forage
species in pastures.


Figure Z








Animal Management


Breeding EWes
Hair sheep (Figure 11) in the
USVI can breed at all times of the
year due to lack of significant
changes in photoperiod (i.e.,
length of day light) throughout the
year. Due to this trait it is possible
to keep the ewes with the rams at
all times and produce lambs at all
times of the year. Ewes will pro-
duce an average of 1.8 lambs per
lambing (Figure 12). This may be
lower in young ewes lambing for
the first time or in ewes older than
7-8 years.
In order to take advantage of
seasonal markets, such as civil
and religious holidays, it would be
desirable to utilize a finite breed-
ing period when the ewes are ex-
posed to the ram. This would lead
to the production of a consistent
supply of lambs for sale at a spe-
cific time of the year. In addition
to having adequate numbers to
meet market demand, it also pro-
vides for a more uniform product
by having lambs of similar age and
weight at any given time.


Another benefit of using spe-
cific breeding periods is the abil-
ity to control which rams are bred
to which ewes. If more than one
ram is kept with the ewes at all
times of the year, sire determina-
tion is difficult without resorting to
costly blood testing. By using
single sire mating a farmer can


use animals that have been se-
lected for specific production traits
such as weaning weight, growth
and muscling. This will provide op-
portunities for the farmer to in-
crease the quality of animals within
the flock.
It is not always necessary to
split the flock into smaller groups


FIgure 11. A group of St Croix White and Barbados Blackbelly hair shep ewes In a pen.
Figure 12. A group of St Croix White ewes and their lambs in a guineagrass pasture.
Figure 13. St Croix White ram and ewes in pen for single-sire breeding. The ram is wearing a maridng harness to aid
in determining when each we is bred.







to utilize single sire breeding.
Since the ewes are in heat at 17-
day intervals, on any given day
there should be 5-6% of the ewes
in heat. For example, in a flock of
100 ewes, one would expect to
have 5 or 6 ewes in heat on any
given day. If the ram is placed with
the entire flock for a limited time
period he will have the opportu-
nity to breed 5 to 6 ewes each
day. In order to keep track of
which ram is the sire of which
lambs, the ewes can be isolated
from the ram for at least a 14-
day period in between breeding


periods and then exposed to a
second ram. This wil provide a natu-
ral break in the lambing period that
can be used to identify lambs from
specific sires. In addition, a marking
harness can bewomrn bythe ram and
the crayon marks left on the ewes
will assist in identifying which ewes
a ram has bred (Figure 13). By
using a different color for each
ram it will also be possible to de-
tect ewes that do not conceive and
cycle back for breeding by another
ram.


Rams
The rams can be kept in a
single paddock with adequate for-
age for much of the time (Figure
14). The only time that rams
would leave the paddock is dur-
ing the breeding season or when
they are sold. The use of the single
sire breeding and rotating rams
into the flock will allow for rams
to rest between breeding periods.
Due to their libido (i.e., desire to
breed) the rams may experience
some weight loss during exposure
to ewes, and the rest period in the
ram paddock will allow them to re-
cover the lost weight.

Lambs
The use of defined breeding
seasons will lead to defined lamb-
ing seasons. Since gestation in
hair sheep averages 146 days,
the time that lambing will occur
for ewes that were exposed to the
ram at a specific time can be de-
termined. This allows the farmer
to allocate resources, such as la-
bor, to be available at the time of
lambing. If the ewes were exposed
to the ram for the first 7 days of


Figure 14. A group of St Croix White and Barbados Backbelly rams in pasture.


Example for a flock of 100 ewes:

Braeedin:
7 days with ram A x 5 ewes In heat/day = 35 ewes bred by ram A
in 7 days
Remove ram from flock for at least 14 days
7 days with ram B x 5 ewes in heat/day = 35 ewes bred by ram B
in 7 days
Lambing:
35 ewes produce lambs of ram A
Approximately a 14-day break In lambing
35 ewes produce lambs of ram B
The cycle can be repeated with rams A and B or new rams can be used
at each subsequent breeding period.







June, then the lambs from those
matings would be born during the
last week of October. This coin-
cides with the rainy season on St
Croix when the forage availability
is high, which means that the ewes
would have adequate nutrition to
produce sufficient milk to raise
their lambs.
Lambs can be weaned at 63
days of age with no detrimental
effects on their growth. At this
point in lactation the ewe will still
be producing around 2 Ibs. of milk
per day, which is not enough to
support the lamb completely. At
this time the lambs are already
eating grass to supplement the
milk from the ewe. The ewe's milk
production must be "dried up" in
order to prevent udder problems
such as mastitis. A method to dry
up the ewe at weaning is to place
her in a pen with her lambs with-
out access to water for 24 hours.
After that time the lambs should
be removed and placed in a se-
cure area and provided with feed,
hay and water. The ewes should
be kept in the pen without water
for another 24 hours and then re-
turned to the pasture with the rest
of the flock. Withholding water
from the ewe for this time period
causes her ability to produce milk
to decrease, and when the lamb
is removed the stimulus to pro-
duce milk is also removed.
Once lambs reach the target
weight of 65 Ibs., they can be sold
for slaughter. Of course, some
lambs may be kept as replace-
ment breeding animals within the
flock or sold as breeding stock to
other farmers.

Replacement Animals
Replacement animals are
those that are added to the breed-
ing flock to replace animals that
have died or were culled for vari-
ous reasons. It is possible to raise


your own replacement animals if ac-
curate breeding records are main-
tained. This is necessary to mini-
mize the amount of inbreeding
within a flock. By using specific
rams within sub-groups of the flock,
genetic lines can be maintained and
inbreeding can be kept low,
Replacement animals should
be selected based on their genetic
merit as well as their production
traits. If the flock is managed as a
purebred flock then breed char-
acteristics also need to be in-
cluded in the selection criteria.
Selection indexes can be gener-
ated for several traits of interest
to producers. An index is a
method of comparing an animal's
performance in a given trait to the
performance of contemporaries
within the flock. It is usually based
on a percentage scale with 100%
representing animals that are av-
erage within the group. Any ani-
mal with an index value greater
than 100 would be suitable for
selection as a replacement.
Replacement males and fe-
males should be selected from
lambs that were bom as at least
twins. Birth weight and weaning
weight are two indicators of the
growth potential of an animal and
should also be used in the selec-
tion process. In the case of ram
lambs, testicular size should also
be considered since it is a good


indicator of the potential for that
ram to produce sperm cells.
Ewe lambs will begin to exhibit
estrous cycles by around 7 to 8
months of age, but it may not be
desirable to breed them at this
age. The animals will be small and
still growing, and the extra burden
of a pregnancy can suppress their
growth rate and lead to a smaller
adult size. As a rule of thumb, ewe
lambs should be at least 70 Ibs.
at the time of their first breeding.
Ram lambs will reach puberty at
about 7 months of age. Depend-
ing on the number of ewes in a
breeding group, a young ram can
be used for breeding by 10
months of age with very little im-
pact on the growth of the ram.
Young rams should be exposed to
only 15-20 ewes for their first
breeding period while adult rams
can breed 25-30 ewes.

Flock Health
In the USVI there are few ani-
mal diseases that cause severe
losses in sheep. One of the major
concerns is internal parasites.
Because of the high temperatures
and the rainy season, intestinal
worms can have a negative im-
pact on animal productivity.
Lactating ewes are under the
additional stress of milk produc-
tion and will lose weight during


Example of using a selection index:

Average weaning weight of al lambs in flock = 25 Ibs.
Lamb A weaning weight = 30 Ibs.
Lamb B weaning weight 20 Ibs.
Index for Lamb A = (30+25) X 100 = 120 indicating that Lamb A has
a 20% higher weaning weight than the group average
Index for Lamb B = (20+25) X 100 = 80 indicating that Lamb A has
a 20% lower weaning weight than the group average








their lactation. Therefore, ewes should be dewormed
twice during the lactation.
The flock at UVI is treated with a deworming
medication at the start of the lambing period and 4
weeks later (Figures 15-17). The lambs themselves
are treated at 7 and 11 weeks of age. Once the
lambs are weaned and grazing pasture they can be
wormed at 6-8 week intervals, depending on the
time of year.
Since the rainy season is more suitable to the
life cycle of parasites and parasite numbers increase,
the time between treating animals should be shorter
at this time of the year. Young lambs should also be
vaccinated against enterotoxemia (Clostridium
perfingens C & D) and tetanus (Clostridium tetane)
at 7 and 11 weeks of age (Figure 18). Adults should
be vaccinated annually. For an example of a dew-
orming schedule and medications see Tables 1 and
2, on page 12.
Because the hooves continually grow and may
not wear down adequately it is necessary to trim
hooves on adult sheep. The time when this needs
to be done will vary throughout the year depending
on how much wear is apparent on the hooves.









Figure 15. Oral administration
(drenching) of de-worming
medicatfan to a ewe.
Figure 16. Backpack style drench-
ing gun and reservoir used to
administer deworming medica-
tion to sheep.
Figure 17. Common deworming
medications used in sheep. All
of these can be orally adminis-
tered.
FIgure 18. Clostrldla and tetanus
toxoid vaccine administered to
young lambs and adult sheep.








Table 1. Deworming schedule used at UVI-AES Sheep
Research Facility.

Lambs:
First deworming at 7 weeks of age
Second deworming at 11 weeks of age
Once on pasture, dewormed at 6-8 week intervals, depending
on time of year
Ewes:
2 weeks prior to breeding (first time ewes)
-2 weeks prior to lambing (first time ewes)
Start of lambing (all ewes in flock)
4 weeks after lambing starts (all ewes in flock)
Rams:
Every 3 to 6 months as needed
Lambs and adult sheep should be randomly tested for parasite loads
by a veterinarian throughout the year and treated as needed.


Table 2. Common dewormers used in sheep.
Commercial Product Compound
Ivomec ivermectin
Valbazen albendazole
Levasoleg levamisole
Panacure fenbendazole
SynanthicO oxfendazole


Feed and Water
As long as there is adequate
forage in the pastures there will
be no need for supplemental feed
for the adult sheep. For a brief
time after the lambs are weaned
they can be given supplemental
feed to aid in their growth (Figure
19). A feed containing 1 6 %
crude protein fed at a rate of
4.5% of body weight per day can
produce an average daily gain of
0.3 Ibs. per day in hair sheep
lambs. The lambs will also need
to have access to some type of
roughage at this time, either hay
or fresh grass (Rgure 20).
Sheep will consume approxi-
mately 2.5 gal/head/day of water
under grazing conditions found in
the tropics. A consistent supply of
clean, fresh water is important for
the fitness of the animals. Water
containers should be kept clean
to aid in preventing outbreaks of
diseases within the flock. The wa-
ter needs to be provided so that
the sheep have access to it at all


Figure 19. Feed bunks made or PVC pipe can De used to Keep IWo Clen
and dry. The wooden brackets help to stabilize the bunk and prevent
animals from spilling the feed








times and this can be done by using plastic water troughs
placed in the pasture (Figure 21). To maintain the level
of water in the trough a float valve that shuts of auto-
matically can be used. Water can be delivered to the
troughs by using buried PVC pipes or by using a large
tank to transport water. The source of water and its lo-
cation in relation to the pastures will determine what
means is used to carry water to the sheep.
Mineralized salt blocks should also be placed in the
pastures for the sheep (Figure 22). These provide min-
erals that may not be available in sufficient amounts in
the forage. During the dry periods of the year it may be
necessary to provide the sheep with hay when forage is
low. This can be done using round bales and either feed-
ing a limited amount to the sheep each day or by letting
them have unlimited access to the entire bale. The first
method will be less wasteful but will require more labor.
The preferred method can be determined to suit the
needs and resources of individual farmers.


Figure 20. A round bale oftgulneagrass hay that can
be used to provide supplemental roughage to
sheep during the dry times of the year.
Figure 21. Water trough and float valve used in pas-
tures The float valve, on the left, helps to main-
tain a constant level of water in the trough.
Figure 22. Salt blocks are placed in the pastures to
supplement the mineral portion of the ration.
The old tire rim Is used to keep the block off
the ground and allow for drainage of rainwater
to prevent the block from dssolving too quickly.






14

flock Records
In order to keep track of ani-
mals in the flock each animal
should have some form of iden-
tification. Animals can be identi-
fied with tattoos, ear tags or neck
ropes with tags on them (Figure
23). Tattoos are permanent and
will remain with the animal for
its entire life. Ear tags and neck
rope tags can be lost. The tags
and ropes can be purchased in
a variety of colors to help es-
tablish different groups within
the flock.
For instance, at UVI-AES the
sheep flock uses all three forms
of identification. Breeding ewes
have tattoos, ear tags and neck
rope tags. Rams have tattoos
and ear tags. The tattoo contains
the animals ID number as well
as the year of birth and is placed
in the ears. The ear tag is color
coded for year of birth and has
the animal ID number on it (Fig-
ure 24). The neck ropes are color
coded for breeding line and have
a second ID number on it.
Flock records should be
maintained to assist in making
management decisions. Ex-
amples of flock records for
ewes, lambs, rams and sales are
shown in Tables 3-6 on pages
15-16. Important information
that should be recorded for all
lambs at birth includes date of
birth, birth weight, sex of lamb,
type of birth (single, twin, trip-
let), breed and sire and dam
identification.
This should be done for live
as well as dead lambs. If a lamb
dies prior to weaning it should also
be noted along with the cause of
death. High death losses may be
due to a disease, parasites or poor
management, and records of this
can be used to identify the cause
and correct the situation. At wean-


ing the weight of lambs and the
number of lambs still alive should
be recorded. The dates that the
ram is put with the ewes, and the
I D of the ram, should be recorded
to assist in determining sire of
lambs and when to expect lambs
to be bom.
Information on flock records
can be stored in a variety of
ways. Many farmers keep hand-
written records in notebooks.
There are also several computer
software packages available for


Figure 23. Plastic ear tags
and an ear tagging tool
can be used to identify
sheep. The neck rope
and tag can be used as
an additional form of
identification.
Figure 24. A young lamb
showing the placement
of the ear tag (number
60). The tag should be
placed in the ear so that
it allows room for the ear
to grow.


livestock record keeping. What
information is being recorded
and how much of it is recorded
will determine the method used.
Computer software can perform
many different operations on the
records once they are entered.
Pedigrees can be analyzed, in-
breeding coefficients can be
determined and selection in-
dexes can be generated. Some
software can also analyze the
financial aspects of the farm-
ing operation.







Table 3. Examples of flock record formats for ewe information.


422 17028 1 A


| A-2 1 78 1 12126/00[ F


I 1 I 1 1 5.91 24


442 F209 A A-1 82 2127100 FF 2 2 2 11.4 45
397 7047 A A-2 76 71 2128100 MFF 3 3 3 16.7 83
466 8187 A A-4 62 48 3/1100 MM 2 2 1 8.3 22
Column Headings:
Necktag number ID number on necktag of owe Lambing date date lambs were born
Ear Tag ID number on ear tag of ewe Sex of lambs shows the sex of lambs bom
Flock flock designation when there are multiple flocks Lambs bom number of lambs born
Breeding Group designates which breeding group ewe is in. Lambs alive number of lambs alive at birth
Can also be used to indicate genetic ine within flock. Lambs weaned number of lambs alive at weaning
Wt @ breeding ewe's weight at the start of the breeding period Total birth weight weight of all lambs bom for each ewe
Wt @ weaning ewe's weight when her lambs are weaned Total weaning weight weight of all lambs weaned for each awe

Table 4. Example of flock record format for lamb information.

.Ear Bth Birth Weaning Weaning Lambs Lambs Lambs LUea Leave Leave
a Dam Sire Dat SOex Wt Date Wt Bom ALve Weaned Date Wt Cause

20001 7028 8165 2126100 F 5.9 4126100 24 1 1 1
20002 F209 F203 2/27/00 F 5.6 4/26/00 23 2 2 2
20003 F209 F203 2/27100 F 5.8 4126100 22 2 2 2
20005 7047 8165 2128100 M 6.1 4/26/00 33 3 3 3
20006 7047 8165 2128100 F 4.9 4/26100 29 3 3 3
20007 7047 8165 2/28100 F 5.7 4/26100 21 3 3 3
20008 8187 7071 311100 M 4.8 513100 18 2 1 1
20009 8187 7071 3/1100 M 3.5 513100 22 2 1 0 5119100 25 1


Column Headings:
Ear tag ear tag number assigned to lamb
Dam ID of the dam
Sire ID of the she
Birth date date lamb was born
Sex sex of individual lamb
Birth weight weight of individual lamb
Weaning date dale lambs was weaned


Weaning weight weight at weaning of Individual lamb
Lambs born number of lambs born in litter
Lambs alive number of live lambs in litter at bith
Lambs weaned number of lambs in litter alive at weaning
Leave date when the lambs left the flock
Leave weight weight of lamb when it leaves the flock
Leave cause reason lamb left flock (Ie., died, sold, stolen, etc.)






16
Table 5. Example of flock records for breeding rams.


I I1 W | I M | 1 I i I ___ l a w IIaa I \ I


9256 A A-3 7/1/198 76 615199 28 26 93
9054 A A-2 11/15/98 78 10/2199 32 31 97
5489 A A-4 10/31/98 62 212100 35 33 94

Column Headings:
Ear tag ear tag number assigned to lamb
Flock flock designation when there are multiple flocks
Breeding Group designates which breeding group awe is in.
Can also be used to indicate genetic line within flock.
Date of birth birth date of ram
Weight at breeding weight of ram at the start of the breeding period
Date used for breeding date of the start of the breeding period
Number of ewes bred to the number of ewes in the breeding group
Number of ewes pregnant the number of ewes that conceived during the breeding period
Percent of ewes pregnant the percentage of ewes that were exposed to the ram that conceived


Table 6. Example of sales records for a sheep flock.


3/4/00 4321 68 meet $1.50 $102.00 A. Gore
7/1100 5678 55 breeding $2.00 $110.00 G. Bush

Column Headings:
Date date of transaction
Animal ID the number of the animal that was sold
Weight weight of the animal at the time of the sale
1ype of Sale Indicates If the animal was sold for meat or as breeding stock
Priceilb. the amount you charged for the animal
Total price the amount you received for the animal
Buyer who the animal was sold to


Marketing
Hair sheep are produced for meat production
because they have no marketable fiber like wool
breeds of sheep. Young animals can be sold to
provide a quality product of fresh, lean lamb. Hair
sheep weighing 65 Ibs. will produce a carcass
weighing 28 to 32 Ibs. Depending on the mar-
keting system available, the animals can be sold
based on live weight or based on the weight of
the dressed carcass. If they are sold by carcass
weight, then adjustments need to be made to com-
pensate for the lower weight of the carcass com-


pared to that of the live animal in order to receive
a similar amount of income.


Example:
Live animal sale for meat
65 Ib. lamb sold at $1.50/lb. = $97.50

Carcass sale
65 Ib. lamb yields a 30 lb. carcass
sold at $3.2511b. = $97.50


I_ ~ -







Sales of young lambs can also be used to pro-
vide other farmers with breeding stock. These
animals should be of higher quality than the ani-
mals that are sold for meat. By only offering high
quality animals for sale as breeding stock, other
farmers will continue to purchase animals from
the flock in the future. Lambs sold as breeding
animals can be sold at any weight.

Example:
Breeding ewe or ram sale
35 lb. lamb sold at $2.25ftb. = $78.75

65 lb. lamb sold at $2.2511b. = $146.25


Once a market is established for the lambs,
management practices should be used to ensure
that a consistent supply of quality product is avail-
able to meet the market demands. The use of spe-
cific breeding periods can be used to produce a
uniform lamb crop at a specific time when the
market demand is high (See Animal Management
- Breeding Ewes).

Economi( Analysis

Ihat is an Enterprise Budget?
An enterprise budget provides a summary of
the expected annual costs and returns (either on
a per acre basis, as is common for field or fruit
crops; or on a unit of output basis, as is common
for animals) from producing a specific product
such as fish, tomatoes, or, in this case, sheep.
There are two types of budgets: a maintenance
budget (for all commodities), and an establish-
ment budget (for livestock and perennials). These
budgets should be developed prior to production
of any commodity. Subsequently, they should be
updated periodically.
An enterprise budget can be used for several
purposes. The main uses are to determine the
desired sales price; to control cost; to monitor
business profitability; and to help identify the
break-even point. They can also provide the in-
formation needed to conduct a financial feasibil-


ity analysis as is done in this bulletin.
Thus, at a minimum, an enterprise budget
should include: (a) the expected revenues from
the specific crop or livestock enterprise (includ-
ing cull and/or secondary product revenues and
after accounting for death loss); and (b) the esti-
mated costs (broken down into variable or oper-
ating costs and fixed or ownership costs).
Ultimately, costs are an important determinant
of profitability; if one does not know what it costs
to produce something, it is impossible to deter-
mine if it is profitable. Enterprise budgets can
assist with this task.
The format used for the enterprise budgets
developed in this bulletin is similar to that used in
standard farm management books such as Herbst
and Erickson (1989), and Osburn and
Schneeberger (1978).

Summary of Results
This bulletin contains an establishment bud-
get and a maintenance budget for two herd sizes
(see Tables 7 through 10, pages 18-21). Each
budget outlines the key assumptions and illus-
trates the process of deriving the computations,
when the latter is not obvious. In addition to the
enterprise budgets, the results of the financial fea-
sibility analysis are provided.
Based on the information contained in these
budgets, it appears that sheep production can be
a profitable activity in the USVI. We find that there
are economies of scale in sheep production; the
estimated production cost for the 350-head op-
eration ($0.93 per pound) is substantially lower
than for the 100-head operation ($1.41 per
pound).
Furthermore, the financial feasibility analysis
(see page 22) shows that while the 100-head
operation can be profitable for existing sheep pro-
ducers, the 350-head operation is more feasible
in the long run. This has implications both for ex-
isting producers and potential producers.







Table 7. Estimated Establishment Costs for Hair Sheep, St Croix, USVI.
(A) 100-head operation (98 ewes; 2 rams).


Site Preparation (60 acres)
(varies with site)


tractor
hours


$2,400


Watering (a) 1" PVC pipe 20 ft. 90 $9.90 $890
(b) trough & float valve 3 $50 $150

Feeding Troughs (8" PVC pipe 20 ft. 3 $75 $225
cut in half)

Shed (lumber & tin roof; 10'x10' 1 $1,650 $1,650
light fixture)

Fencing (a) 4' goat wire 300' 59 $150 $8,850
roll
(b) metal T-posts post 1,728 $5 $8,640
(c) confinement area $1,000

Purchase of Animals lb. 55 lb. $2.25 $12,375
(98 ewes; 2 rams) Avg.

Labor for Establishment hrs. 500 $6 $3,000

TOTAL ESTABLISHMENT $39,180
COST (excluding land)
Assumpions:
1. 60 acres of land consisting of a combination of native (guinea grass) pasture and tan tan is available. Also, a water source (well and/or WAPA) exists. If not, an
average well cost of $30-50/ft., assuming an average depth of 100-150', amounting to a total of approximately $5,000 (including a $500 pump) can be used.
2. Rotational grazing management (and, therefore, paddocks) will be used. A rectangular (rather than a wagon wheel) fencing system is employed.
3. The 3.3 head/acre stocking rate assumed is for mid-island St. Croix; this will need to be adapted for other areas. For instance, in the East, a stocking rate of 2
animals/acre can be assumed, and, in the West, 5 animals/acre can be used.
4. Additional rams for breeding purposes can be "borrowed" from other farms, as is often the practice.
5. Total costs are rounded off to the nearest $.
a 86. A combination of UVI-AES experimental data, expert opinion, and informal telephone surveys (for selected input prices) is used.







Table 8. Estimated Establishment Costs for Hair Sheep, St. Croix, USVI.
(B) 350-head operation (338 ewes: 12 rams).


Site Preparation (175 acres)
(varies with site)


tractor
hours


130


$7,800


Watering (a) 1" PVC pipe 20 ft. 250 $9.90 $2,475
(b) trough & float valve 3 $50 $150

Feeding Troughs (8" PVC pipe 20 ft. 6 $75 $450
cut in half)

Shed (lumber & tin roof; 10'x20' 1 $2,350 $2,350
light fixture)

Fencing (a) 4' goat wire 300' 123 $150 $18,450
roll
(b) metal T-posts post 3,680 $5 $18,400
(c) confinement area $2,000

Purchase of Animals lb. 55 lb. $2.25 $43,313
(338 ewes; 12 rams) Avg.

Labor for Establishment hrs. 1,000 $6 $6,000

TOTAL ESTABLISHMENT $101,388
COST (excluding land) _
Assumptions:
1. 175 acres of land, containing a combination of native (guinea grass) pasture and tan tan is available. Also, a water source (well and/or WAPA) exists. If not, an
average well cost of $30-50/ft., assuming an average depth of 100-150', amounting to a total of approximately $5,000 (including a $500 pump) can be used.
2. Rotational grazing management (and, therefore, paddocks) will be used. A rectangular (rather than a wagon wheel) fencing system is employed.
3. The 3.5 head/acre stocking rate assumed is for mid-island St. Croix; this will need to be adapted for other areas. For instance, in the East, a stocking rate of 2
animals/acre can be assumed, and, in the West, 5 animals/acre can be used.
4. Additional rams for breeding purposes can be "borrowed" from other farms, as is often the practice.
5. Total costs are rounded off to the nearest $.
6. A combination of UVI-AES experimental data, expert opinion, and informal telephone surveys (for selected input prices) is used.






20
Table 9. Estimated Annual Costs & Returns for Hair Sheep, St Croix, USVI.
(A) 100-head operation (98 ewes; 2 rams).


ANNUAL SALES
(a) Slaughter lambs lb. 8,7751 $1.50 $13,163
(live @ 65 Ibs. avaJamb)
(b) cull ewes (1 0ewes/yr.) lb. 900 $1.10 $990
(c) breeding ram sales lb. 825 $2.25 $1,856
(15 rams per year)
Total Revenue $16,009
OPERATING COSTS y.
Pasture maintenance tractor hrs. 50 $15 $750
Hay purchase 750 lb. bale 10 $25 $750
Pefleted feed (16% protein) 50 lb. bag 56 $8.50 $476
Minerals 50 Ib. block 8 $17 $136
Vaccines & deworming lamb 180 $1.84 $332
Slaughtering head 135 $4 $540
Labor (part-time; hrs. 1,000 $6 $6,000
20 hrs.Jweek)
Water, electricity $2,000
& gasoline
Interest on operating capital $ 10,484 10% $1,048
Total Operating Cost $11,532
Returns Above Operating Cost $4,477
IED COSTS
Property Tax acre 60 $3.75 $225
Interest on average annual $ $19,590' 10% $1,959
investment (excluding land)
Repairs & depreciation $ $21,4053 5% $1,070
Total Fixed Cost &$3,254
PRE-TAX RETURNS TO $1,223
LAND & OPERATOR'S
MANAGEMENT
(total revenue -total operating
cost total fixed cost)

BREAK-EVEN PRICE (at current production level) = [fixed cost per pound + operating cost per pound] = $1.41 lb.

Notes on computations:
'annual sales of slaughter lambs is computed as follows: [expected lamb crop death loss cull rate replacement rams -
breeding sales] x [average lamb weight]. Thus, [180 18 10 2 151 x [65 Ibs.] = 8,775 Ibs.
interest on average annual investment = [beginning investment + ending investmentj/2. Thus, [$39,180 + 0]/2 -
$19,590.
amount of repairs and depreciation = total establishment cost (from the corresponding establishment budget) less
amounts for site preparation, animal purchase and labor.

Assumptions:
1. The following assumptions are made for the sales computation: a lambing rate of 1.8; a replacement rate of 10%; two
rams are retained each year for breeding. Finally, a lambing death loss of 10% is used.
2. Rotational grazing management is used. Water consumption rate is 2.5 gallons/animal/day.
3. The 3.3 head/acre stocking rate assumed is for mid-island St Croix; this will need to be adapted for other areas.
4. Property tax is computed assuming a market value of $1 0,000/acre. This, in turn, yields an assessed land value of
$6,000/acre. The commercial tax rate is 0.0125; with the 95% farmland exemption on real property taxes, this results in
a tax to the farmer of $3.75/acre.
5. Labor taxes (i.e., social security, etc.) amount to approximately 20% of wages.
6. Total revenues and costs are rounded off to the nearest $.
7. A combination of UVI-AES experimental data, expert opinion, and informal telephone surveys is used.








Table 10. Estimated Annual Costs & Returns for Hair Sheep, St Croix, USVI.
(B) 350-head operation (338 ewes; 12 rams).


(15 rams per year)
Total Revenue


lb. 34,125' $1.50

lb. 3.150 $1.10
lb. 825 $2.25


$51,188
$3,465
$1,856


$56,509


Pasture maintenance tractor hrs. 175 $15 $2.625
Hay purchase 750 lb. bale 35 $25 $875
Pelleted feed (16% protein) 50 lb. bag 195 $8.50 $1,658
Minerals 50 lb. block 16 $17 $272
Vaccines & deworming lamb 630 $0.81 $512
Slaughtering head 525 $4 $2,100
Labor (part-time; hrs. 2,000 $6 $12,000
20 hrsJweek)
Water, electricity $5,000
& gasoline R
Interest on operating capital $ 25,042 10% $2,504
Total Operating Cost $27,546
Returns Above Operating Cost $28,963

Property Tax acre l 175 w $3.75 1 $655
Interest on average annual $ $50,694 10% $5,069
investment (excluding land)
Repairs & depreciation $ $44,2753 5% $2,214
Total Fixed Cost $7,939
PRE-TAX RETURNS TO $21,024
LAND & OPERATOR'S
MANAGEMENT
(total revenue -total operating
cost total fixed cost)

BREAK-EVEN PRICE (at current production level) fixed cost per pound + operating cost per pound] = $0.93ib.
Notes on computations:
'annual sales of slaughter lambs is computed as follows: [expected lamb crop death loss cull rate replacement rams -
breeding sales] x [average lamb weight]. Thus, [630 50 35 5 15] x [65 be.] = 34,125 lbs.
interest on average annual investment = [beginning investment + ending investmentl/2. Thus, [$101,388 + 0]/2 =
$50,694.
amount of repairs and depreciation = total establishment cost (from the corresponding establishment budget) less
amounts for site preparation, animal purchase and labor.

Assumptions:
1. The following assumptions are made for the sales computation: a lambing rate of 1.8; a replacement rate of 10%; two
rams are retained each year for breeding. Finally, a lambing death loss of 10% is used.
2. Rotational grazing management is used. Water consumption rate is 2.5 gallons/animal/day.
3. The 3.3 head/acre stocking rate assumed is for mid-island St. Croix; this will need to be adapted for other areas.
4. Property tax is computed assuming a market value of $10,000/acre. This, in tumrn, yields an assessed land value of
$6,000/acre. The commercial tax rate is 0.0125; with the 95% farmland exemption on real property taxes, this results in
a tax to the farmer of $3.75/acre.
5. Labor taxes (i.e., social security, etc.) amount to approximately 20% of wages.
6. Total revenues and costs are rounded off to the nearest $.
7. A combination of UVI-AES experimental data, expert opinion, and informal telephone surveys is used.






21
Limitations of Analysis
The following analysis is based on averages
for one study location (mid-island), and pertains
to the time period during which this study was
conducted. Thus, the estimates can be expected
to change over time and by location. There are
several factors other than economics which can
limit the potential of sheep production in the Car-
ibbean. Wildeus and Collins (1993) find that
nutrition, management, and a lack of genetic di-
versity are the primary constraints to sheep pro-
duction in the Caribbean. Furthermore, risks in-
volved in sheep production can be sizable, but
are difficult to capture in an analysis such as this.
From a financial standpoint, the implications of
risk are that losses are going to occur occasion-
ally. This, of course, applies to other areas of farm-
ing as well. Strategies to manage risks in sheep
production (or any other production activity for
that matter) include proper planning (including the
development of enterprise budgets such as those
illustrated herein before actually undertaking pro-


duction), insurance, and diversification.
In conclusion, this analysis reveals that for
some one willing to incur the potential risks and
overcome possible constraints in sheep produc-
tion, the potential rewards in the form of profit
can be sizable.

rin ncial Feasibility Analysis for Hair Sheep
reduction
(A) 100-head operation: Based on conditions
assumed in the budgets (Tables 7 and 9), al-
though the 100-head operation generates a small
profit on an annual basis, when establishment
costs are factored in, it yields a negative net
present value (NPV) and, therefore, is financially
infeasible in the long run.
(B) 350 head operation: Under the conditions
assumed in the budgets (Tables 8 and 10), this
size operation could be both profitable on an an-
nual basis (maintenance budgets), as well as fea-
sible in the long run (as indicated by the NPV
computations shown below).


2. Internal Rate of Return
(IRR) for 350-head


definitions:
1. NPV is defined as the discounted value of a project's net annual cash flow less the initial
investment (i.e., establishment) cost. From an investment standpoint, the higher the NPV, the more
desirable the investment (in this case hair sheep).
2. IRR is defined as that discount rate which equates the present value of the project's expected
net cash flows to the initial investment cost (in this case, the establishment cost). It can simply be
thought of as the project's (in this case, hair sheep) expected rate of return. The higher the IRR, the
better from an investment standpoint.
Details on N PV and I RR are available in any standard financial management book such as Brigham
and Houston (1998).


1. Net Present Value

Assuming a 20-year planning horizon, the NPV for a 350-head
sheep operation is as follows:

Cost of Capital Net Present Value
8% $105,028
10% $77,602
12% $55,649








References
Brigham, EF. and J.F. Houston. 1998. Fundamentals of Financial Manage-
ment. New York, NY: The Dryden Press.
Herbet J.H. and D.E. Erickson. 1989. Farm Management: Principles,
Budgets, Plans. Champaign, IL: Stipee Publishing Co.
Osbum, D.D. and K.C. Schneeberger. 1978. Modem Agriculture Manage-
ment Reston, VA: Reston Publishing Co.
Wildeus, S. and J.R. Collins. 1993. "Hair Sheep Performance in an Exten-
sive, Native Pasture System: A Five Year Summary" UVI Research.
Volume 5. UVI Agricultural Experiment Station, St Crokix.


Additional Reference Material
Heir Sheep of Westem Africa and the Americas: A genetic Resource for the
Tropics. 1983. H.A. F'izhugh and G.E Bradford (Eds.), Westview Press,
Boulder, CO.
Hair Sheep Production in Tropical and Sub-Tropical Regions with Reference
to Northeast Brazil and the Countries of the Caribbean, Central America,
and South America. 1990. M. Shelton and EAR Figueiredo (Eds.),
Small Ruminant Collaborative Research Support Program, University of
California, Davis, CA.
Proceedings of the Hair Sheep Research Symposium. 1991. Stephan
Wildeus (Ed.), University of the Virgin Islands, Agricultural Experimenet
Station, St Croix.
The Sheep Production Handbook. American Sheep Industry Association.
Englewood, CO. (http-:/www.sheepusa.org/resource/handbook/
handbook.htm)
UVI-AES Animal Science Program (httpo/rps.uvi.edu/AES/aes home.html)




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