U.IT=D STATS. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Bureau of Agricultural Economics
SLS-17 May 19,1938
THE SHEEP AND LAKB S IT U T I 0 ;
Prices of lambs are expected, to decline seasonally *iuri:,g the
summer months, the Bureau of -.'-ic.ultural Economics states. Because of
the present relatively low level of lamb prices, however, the -:bsolute
decline may be somewhat less than v. -ra-e. But the percentage decline
probably will be at least as great.
Markctings of new crop lambs during the summer months may be larger
than in the summer of 1937. But the number of yearlingsr to be .maretcd
from Texas during this period is expected to be smaller than the record
marketing of a year ago.
Weather and fNed conditions i. the principal early lamb producing
States during ; April and early Kay continued '.nusuz:1l.1 favorable. The 1938
cosson generally has been one of the most favorable on record for the
production of early spring lambs.
Prices of early spring lambs in early Ma, were somewhat lower than
those of a month earlier, and about $2.50 per 100 pounds below those of
early May last year, largely because of the weakness in consumer demand
for meats rind the relatively low prices of pelts.
i. 1'.' 0 7 PL L '
CI D% Oc'EF'TO~^ DT
REV'.''7 OF REC_'? DSVELOP,1ETS
B.'.C,:'ROUND.- Prices paid by packers for sh.-c:p and
lambs d.lri.; the first 4 months of the fcd-larib
marketing season (Decciber-iarch) avera-jod $7.35 per
1-'O pounds, 18 percr:t lower than in the .orrcs..onding
period a year rLi;.- c .itj a sllhi diecroase in
the total live v.:i-.ht s' inspected shicr and laib
slaughter. Weakness in consumer demand for meats and
lower :pices of e-lts and wcol were the factors chiefly
responsible for the reduced prices of shcc! and lanbs.
The number cf shop :and lambs s! .ulhtered under
Federal insp-ection in DLccui.b.br aivd January was smaller
than that of a year earlier, but the number
slaughtered in February and March was larger than a
Lamb prices dcclin.: .1. i l,tl!, in A.-.ri1
Lamb prices in April were somewhat lower than in i.Lrch, apparently
as a result of further weakness in consumer donand for meats. Prices of
good and choice fed wocled lambs at C!.ic;.go in April av.rc.ged about $8.25
per 1.0 pnunds, approximately 35 cnts lower than a month earlier, and
nearly $4 lower than a year earlier, Prices of -o-r and choice s.rir.g
lxmbs at Kansas City in early iay averaged about $3.65, aEpproximately
60 cents lower thaN in early April, and about :.i.50 lower than in early
May last year.
Slathtcr _su 'lies larger than ycar earlier
The number of siic.~n and lar.. s laughtered under Federal inspection
in April totaled 1,425,000 head, sli tl> s-allcr than a month earlier,
but 7 -crcc:It larger than a yc".r .-rli~r, 1.ie the fourth lari. st slaughter
for the month on record. Markiti.;; of Ied lambs ;.-ere relatively large
in .'.pril, while the movement of early s.ri.:g laz.iL got u;.dcr way in
fairly large volume.
During the !. weeks ended April 30, shipments of :che"c. and l-ibs
front the -ri! ci:-l re.aing areas of Colorado a:,d the cu'.'tsbluff section
of :'cbras::. totled 1,'?7 doblc-deck cars, about 9 prcnt more th.a
in the corr I -;.'l..- 4 weeks of last year. From January through .rril,
such shipments totaled 6,594 cars, 13 percent more than in the
corrc3: c:di:.- 4 months of 1937, but slil.tly loss than in 19'.'. Shipncnts
of fed lambs were nearly completed by the end of April this year.
Marketing of early lambs in April were considerably larger than in
April last year. This increase, together with the larger movement of
feed-lot lambs, more than offset the decrease in marketing of shorn,
grass-fat yearling lambs from Texas. Total shipments of sheep and lambs
from Texas in April were more than 40 percent smaller than the record
April shipments-last year, but included a much larger proportion of
spring lambs. Although total receipts of sheep and lambs at Ft. Worth in
April were much smaller this'year than last, the number of new crop
lambs showed an increase of nearly 50 percent.
Shipments of California spring lambs to eastern markets in April
totaled about 110,000 head, which, although relatively small, exceeded the
very small shipments in April last year. For the week ended May 7, such
shipments totaled about 82,000 head, almost twice as many as in the
corresponding week a year earlier,
Early larb season one of most favorable on record
Weather and feed conditions in the principal early producing States
during April and early May continued to be unusually favorable for the
development of early lambs. Considering all areas, the 1938 season has
been one of the most favorable on record for the production of early lambs.
Early lambs marketed before May 1 were generally well above average
in weight and quality, and those to be marketed in May and June also are
expected to be of high quality. Marketings of early spring lambs in
May and June are expected to be relatively largp. Although marketing of
grass fat lambs and yearlings from Texas during these 2 months probably
will be much smaller than the record marketing a year ago, this reduction
may not be great enough to offset entirely the prospective increase in
marketing of new -crop lambs.
With no indications of early material improvement in industrial
activity or in the consumer demand for meats, lamb prices are expected
to decline at least seasonally during, the summer months. Because of
the present relatively low level of lamb prices, however, the absolute
decline may be somewhat less than average, although the percentage decline
probably will be at least as great.
Slaughter supplies of lambs during the summer consist mostly of
labs dropped in February and March, and come largely from the native
sheep States, Idaho, and Pacific Coast States.. Present indications are
that the lamb crop in those areas is larger this year than last, and has
generally made better growth than a year ago. Hence, marketing of new-crop
lambs this summer probably will be larger than in the summer of 1937,
but the number of yearlings to be marketed from Texas is expected to be
Western ewe bands are generally in very good condition, with
favorable prospects for the late lamb crop in the northern area. Texas
has a very good crop of lambs that are making good gains.
Lamb prices usually decline during the summer months, and in some
years decline further in the early fall, as slaughter supplies of grass
fat lambs increase seasonally. If the relative decline in lamb prices
during the summer and early fall this year is about equal to the
average for that period in most years, prices of grass lambs in the late
summer and early fall probably will average somewhat lower than prices of
fed lambs at the low point in early February.
Present indications are that domestic wool prices will remain near
present levels in the next few months. While some increase in domestic
mill consumption of wool from current low levels is likely to occur in
the second half of 1938, wool prices also will be affected by the
relatively large supplies of raw wool in the United States and foreign
Stocks of apparel wool held by and afloat to United States dealers
and manufacturers totaled 217 million pounds, grease basis, on March 26 and
it is estimated that about 22 million pounds of domestic shorn wool
remained on ranches and farms and in local warehouses in the 13 western n
Shee States. Stocks were considerably larCcr than on the corresponding
d:.tes of 1936 and 1937 and probably were above the April 1 average stocks
of the past 10 years.
As the 1937-3E wool season in the Southern Hemisphere draws to a
close it becomes increasingly evident that any decrease in the coming
(193C-39) Southern Hemisphere wool clip which might result from droughts
now reported in some areas will be c.fset by a larger carry-over at the
end of the current season than a year earlier. AppTarcnt supplies on
-April 1 in the five principal Southern Hemisphere countries were estimated
at about 1 billion pounds and were 35 percent larger than a year
earlier and larger than April 1 supplies in any of the 10 preceding years.
The weekly rate of mill consumption of apparel wool in the United
States in March was 14 percent lower than in February and 60 percent
lower than in March 1937. Consumption of apparel wool in the first quarter
of 1938 was the smallest reported for any first quarter in the past 21
,eacrs of record. Activity of wool mills in recent months apparently has
been much lower than the sales of wool items to consumers, and stocks of
finished and semi-finished wool goods have been reduced. In view of the
present reduced stocks of manufactured wool goods, some improvement in
mill consumption from current low levels is expected within the next few
Fro:r tri :.: ay issue of the Demand and Price Situaton. For a more
detailed discussion see the monthly W:ol Situation, copies of which may be
obtained from the Division of Economic Information, Bureau of Agricultural
Econor:ics, Washington, D. C.
Supplies of sheep and lambs,specified periods
S: Year Month
S Unit 'Average Apr. Apr. :ar. Apr.
S.1924-33 1936 1937 avag1937 :1938 :1.3
S: : ::1924-33:
Sheep and lambs:
Number slaughtered :
under Federal *: Thou-
inspection 1/.....: sands
Receipts at seven
markets 2/........: do.
: 14,737 17,216 17,270 1,165 1,334 1,428 1,425
:)/15,241 11,892 11,470 j/1, 33' 888 900 944
Year : Month
average Mar. Feb:
Average 1936 1937 :average: Mar Feb:.
S1924-33: :- 33924-33: 1937 1938:
Lambs and yearlings: Thou-
IIumbcr slaughtered: sands
total sheep and
lambs ...... ....:Percent:
Sheep: : Thou- :
Number slaughtered: sands :
total sheep and
Sheep and lambs:
Average live wt. : Pound
weight .........: do.
Total dressed wt.:Mil.lb.:
13,678 15,647 15,912
1,091 1,240 1,326 1,342
90.9 '92.1 94.1 94.5 93.2 94.0
1,059 1,569 1,358
68 72 97 86
9.1- 7.9 .5.9 5.5 6.8 6.0
81 85 85 88 90 91 91
39 40 40 41 41 42 42
569 680 683
1/' Bureau of Animal Industry.
2/ Chicago, Kansas City, Omaha, Denver, St. Joseph, Sioux City and St. Paul.
3/ Average 1929-33.
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
IIIIIII IIIIIIIU IIIII 11 11 1 1IIIII
3 1262 08861 5223
Price per 100 r-cunls of sheep and lambs, by months, Februar:,-A!ril,
: 1216 1--_ 7 3 ....
Feb. .Mar. :A'r. Feb. Mar. ,A;r.
:Dol. Dol. Dol. Dol.
.Fb. %ar. :Ar.r.
F-b. .Mir. .A r.
Dol. Dol. Dol. Dol. Dol.
SlauChter laimbs,C..ica.o: 1/
Goo:d and Choice ...:10,00
'ccnon and. iediuz..: 9.06
Clau-htr-r ewes, Chicago:l/
Good and Choice....: 4.61
Common and Medium.,: 3.75
Feeling lar-~s, Omaha:
Good and Choice....: 9.26
Average price paid by.
Sh-ee- and lambs....: 8.06
Average price received by:
Shee; .............. 4.29
Lambs .............: 8.31
Lamb, New York;
.'l.holesale carcass:2 /
Choice ............ 17.06
Good .......... .....:16. 2?
Pulled wool, Boston: 3_/ :
Choice AA ..........: .9
Choice White B ....: 32.0
Sheep pelts, packers
shearlings, NIo. 1,
Chicago, each LL/.......: 1.14
9.90 10.98 10.33 11.C" 12.22
9.04 10.01 8.75 10.59 11.11
5.36 5.70 5.52 6.62 5.S7
4.36 4.63 4.'2 5.03 4.17
8.87 9.05 8.81 10.08 10.20
9.39 9.78 9.38 10.99 11.92
4.36 4.48 4.45 4.81 :.90
6.10 0.46 8.12 :.83 9.19
7.46 8.6o 8.26
6.32 7.11 .44
6.92 7.69 7.21
3.61 3.97 3.90
6.63 7.35 7.23
97.0 93.2 10,.0 113.5 117.0 71.4
80.2 78.1 103.5 96.0 9C.0 56.2
1,08 1..'C 1.50 1.21 1.55 '.72 0.65 0.52
1.I ith wool on.
SChoice and Good, 38 ,ounls down; Medium, 38 pounds down in 1916 and 1937,
all wci hts in 1938.
/' Cents F:r ou.1i.
L/' Bureau of Labor Statistics.