How to Navigate Poor Marketing Conditions for Lambs

Shelby Filley, Oregon State University, Regional Livestock and Forage
(Previously published on the Oregon State University Extension page: August, 2019)

(Image Source: Cornell Small Farms – Cornell University)

Situation and outlook
Some years the market for feeder and slaughter lamb prices isn’t very strong. Detailed information can be found in market reports. Follow prices on these websites:

By looking at the seasonal price index on feeder and slaughter lambs, you can follow past trends in prices. However, there is no indication that these trends will hold true or that there will be any improvement in prices in the immediate future.

Things to consider
The following information is not a list of recommendations for what you should do, but rather a summary of things that you should consider before you make Continue reading

Spring Oats Offer Fast Forage

Mike Rankin, Hay and Forage Grower Managing Editor
(Previously published in Hay & Forage Grower: March 28, 2023)

Although the days of growing oats for horses have morphed into grandfather tales on most farms, the cereal grain remains a valuable and often-used species in the forage toolbox. Whenever fast forage to graze or harvest is needed, or a companion crop for an alfalfa seeding is desired, more often than not the conversation turns to oats.

The utility of oats as a forage crop can be capitalized upon not just in the fall as a late-season annual but also in the spring if winter annuals didn’t get planted last fall, if they winterkilled, or if perennials suffered winter injury. The beauty of oats is that they can be planted and harvested earlier than most other forage alternatives.

The planting window for spring oats varies by location but generally adheres to the mantra of Continue reading

Capturing Premiums with Small Ruminant Products Through Niche Marketing

Dr. Brady Campbell, Assistant Professor, OSU State Small Ruminant Extension Specialist

(Image Source: American Lamb Board)

As the holidays for Easter and Eid al Fitr (the breaking of the Ramadan fast) quickly approach, small ruminant producers are hastily making their final marketing decisions. For those that are still on the fence, don’t worry, there are plenty of options! This piece isn’t to pressure you to sell your animals in the next few weeks, but rather to think about the costs, benefits, and challenges of marketing now versus marketing later. Each operation is different and thus marketing opportunities will be unique to each producer.

One of the greatest benefits of producing small ruminants is the opportunity to produce and market a wide variety of both common and specialty products. For me, small ruminants are a triple threat species. From the 30,000 ft. view, most sheep and goats have the ability to produce meat, milk, and wool/fiber. Beyond this general categorization, we can further break this down into breeding stock, show animals, commercial stock, a variety of meat and offal products, wool, fibers, and hides, along with many others. However, not to be misleading, this isn’t to say that each product has a secured consumer or market in place. This is where you are a producer, entrepreneur, and marketer come into play.

Before we get into the details of different types of markets, first we must ask, Continue reading

Sheep Show Judges Wool Breeds Workshop

Tim Barnes, OSU Extension Educator ANR, Marion County

2023 Sheep Show Judges Wool Breeds Workshop

The Wool Judge Workshop III will be held Saturday, April 8, 2023 from 10:00 am – 3:00 pm at the Wayne County Fairgrounds located in Wooster, Ohio (199 Vanover St, Wooster, OH 44691).

This educational workshop is designed to aid sheep show judges to evaluate fleece quality in the breeds of sheep that value fleece quality n their breed scorecard.

The following topics will be presented at the workshop:

  • The wool fiber: Understanding wool and its unique characteristics
  • The show ring: Terminology, procedures, and evaluation criteria
  • Hands on fleece judging: Fine wool, colored wool, and medium wool
  • Hands on evaluation of yearling ewe classes: Long and fine wools

Although there is no fee associated for attending this event, it is requested that registration to hold your seat be completed by Monday, April 3, 2023 by emailing Tim Barnes Tim Barnes, OSU Extension Agriculture and Natural Resources Educator, Marion County at or by calling at (740) 914-3030. Lunch will be available onsite for purchase.

We look forward to seeing you at this years event!

Managing Asian Longhorned Ticks on Pasture

Dr. Tim McDermott, OSU Extension Educator ANR, Franklin County

Ohio is on the forefront of expansion of ticks and tick-vectored disease going from one tick of medical importance to humans, companion animals, and livestock twenty years ago to five now, adding two new in the past few years. The tick I mentioned way back in the July 23, 2020, edition of the Farm and Dairy article, “The Threat of Asian Longhorned Tick Continues,” was initially discovered on a rescue dog in southern Ohio in summer of 2020. A second detection of Asian Longhorned tick (ALHT) was on a cattle and sheep farm in a neighboring county in the spring of 2021 when the animals were tick-checked while running them through the chute.

Last year right around this time I wrote an article for the March 17th, 2022 All About Grazing column titled “Asian longhorned tick suspected in cattle deaths in southeast Ohio” that detailed the deaths of three head of cattle and noted we had three counties in Ohio with ALHT.  Since that time, we have added four more counties bringing our total up to seven. Asian Longhorned ticks have been found so far on cattle, a dog, a grey fox, and a human so far in Ohio.  I want to provide a little information so that livestock producers can do their best to keep their animals safe. Continue reading