Limited Goat, Lamb Production May Improve ’24 Prices

David P. Anderson, Livestock Marketing Specialist, Texas AgriLife and Texas A&M university
JJ Jones, Area Agricultural Economics Specialist, Oklahoma State University Department of Agricultural Economics
(Previously published online with: Farm Progress, Southwest FarmPress: January 25, 2024)

2023 lamb and goat prices lagged behind the record-high prices of 2022. Based on limited production in 2024, prices have the opportunity to rise.

The past year was difficult for lamb and goat prices. Early 2022 saw record-high prices, but they collapsed in the year’s second half. It took until the second half of 2023 for prices to increase above the year before, but they still lag well below the earlier record highs. Prices have the opportunity to grow in 2024 based on limited production.

Lamb outlook
Several factors worked in the lamb’s favor to allow prices to slowly climb much of the year. Lamb imports were the lowest since 2019. The amount of lamb in Continue reading

Top Tips for Healthy Lambs

Sarah McNaughton, Editor, Dakota Farmer
(Previously published online with Dakota Farmer: January 19, 2024)

Montana State Extension shares management practices for lambing and kidding.

With lambing and kidding season arriving to ranches, now is the time to evaluate management and facilities for a successful spring crop. Brent Roeder, sheep and wool Extension specialist at Montana State University, shared health management tips for lambs and kids during a recent producer-focused webinar.

Sheep and goats are management-responsive, with nutritional, environmental, or predatory stressors opening the door to disease.

“A lot of livestock management with Continue reading

Bedding Options for Livestock and Equine

Stephen Herbert, Masoud Hashemi, Carrie Chickering‐Sears, and Sarah Weis, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
(Previously published online with the Center for Agriculture, Food, and Environment: UMass Extension Crops, Dairy, Livestock and Equine Program: CDLE Pub. 08-5)

In general, bedding for an animal must be comfortable, clean, and absorbent. There are several materials, both organic and inert, that may be used for bedding, and most may be used for all types of livestock. When organic materials are used, ammonia volatilization is reduced, improving the air in the housing facility. Bedding, as with other aspects of livestock management, can be manageable through proper care and attention. In the case of milking, pregnant, nursing, or very young livestock, specific attention to bedding is required. These four categories of animals are the most susceptible to disease. With milking animals, because the udders are in such close contact with the bedding, environmental pathogens, mainly ones that cause mastitis are of major concern. Comfort is another crucial aspect of bedding because discomfort of an animal leads to sores and other ailments. The breed and age of animal, housing, flooring, and population density will dictate the type and amount of bedding needed. For example the foaling season is especially important with equine.

Considerations in choosing bedding
Labor‐ How time consuming is the overall management (obtaining the material, dispersing it into areas of use, cleaning, and disposal). Availability‐ How feasible is it to obtain material? Are there other uses for the bedding material and will that play a factor into the economics of that specific material? Evaluate source of material to ensure cleanliness. Continue reading

2024 Small Ruminant Feed and Water Use Efficiency Survey

John Yost, OSU Extension Educator ANR, Wayne County

(QR Code to access the 2024 Small Ruminant Feed and Water Use Efficiency Survey)

Thank you for your interest in providing responses to this survey. Before proceeding, please review the following information related to the study and your rights.

By completing the survey, you will help us determine the average level of awareness, and base knowledge of feed and water use efficiency in small ruminant livestock. This online survey will direct you through a set of questions. The Ohio State University Office of Responsible Research Practices has classified this project as Exempt and assigned the study number 2023E1338.

You can access the survey at or by the QR Code provided.

Continue reading

Lamb: Whole Animal Fabrication

American Lamb Board
(Previously published online with the Center for the Advancement of Foodservice Education: May 2, 2022)

Teaching whole animal butchery helps students understand meat purchases, cuts and proper preparation.

While many chefs will buy pre-portioned and trimmed cuts to save on labor costs, whole animal butchery education offers culinarians and students a better understanding of meat purchasing, cuts and how best to prepare them.

A lamb meat carcass includes lean muscle tissue, bones, fat and connective tissue. When considering the best cuts for various cooking techniques, it is important to consider the use of the muscle. Working muscles, such as the shoulder and leg, have more connective tissue and are less tender. In general, these tougher cuts of lamb should be prepared using moist-heat cooking methods, such as braising or stewing. Nonworking muscles, such as the rack or loin, are tender and should be prepared using dry-heat cooking methods such as roasting or grilling.

U.S. sheep are generally processed at seven to 10 months of age. The average weight of a lamb heading for processing is around 135 pounds. Meat from a sheep less than one year of age is called lamb. Meat from an older animal is referred to as mutton.

FACT: The average carcass weight or dressed weight of American Lamb is about 70 pounds, about 50 percent of the live weight.

Continue reading…

Precision Livestock Farming for Small Ruminant Producers

Jason Hartschuh, Dairy Management and Precision Livestock, Field Specialist

This winter the OSU Extension Digital Ag team is offering a 6 part Zoom series on precision livestock farming. Programs will begin on Wednesday, January 31st from noon to 1 and continue for 6 weeks. Each program will feature a different speaker on various precision livestock topics. Two of the topics will be of particular interest to small ruminant producers. The first on January 31st will focus on utilizing drones and remote imagery to determine forage quality and quantity in pasture and hay fields. Dr. Josh Jackson, Assistant Extension Professor with the University of Kentucky will be our featured speaker for this presentation. The next program of interest will be on February 21st covering the benefits of Data collection at lambing and the utilization of RFID technology with handheld readers and data recording. Our featured presenter for this program will be Dan Persons with Shearwell Data.

Other programs will feature technology for beef, dairy swine, and poultry producers.

To sign up for these programs register for free at

Navel Dips for Lambs and Kids

Kelly Froehlich, Assistant Professor and South Dakota State University Extension Sheep Specialist
(Previously published with South Dakota State University Extension: May 03, 2023)

(Image Source: Premier1Supplies)

Treating umbilical cords with a navel dip at birth is recommended to ensure a healthy start for lambs and kids and preventing the occurrence of navel (joint) ill. The umbilical cord is important in maintaining a blood supply between the mother’s placenta and fetuses prior to birth. However, during parturition this connection is severed, leaving a hollow, wet tube that can serve as a wick for bacteria with direct entry to the liver and vascular system of a newborn. Bacteria can lead to infections, commonly causing naval ill in lambs one to three weeks-of-age. Navel ill causes unthrifty, lame, arthritic lambs with swollen joints. Treatment of navel ill is often unsuccessful and prevention is key in managing control of infections.

Using an effective navel dip to disinfect and dry up navels can be part of a strategy in preventing infections. With many choices and recommendations of navel dips available, what is considered effective? For the longest time, the ‘gold standard’ was using a 7% iodine or 7% iodine in an alcohol tincture. However, a U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) ruling in 2007 increased regulation of 7% iodine, making it unavailable for many producers. Seven percent iodine was and has been an effective navel dip because of its ability to kill most pathogens in a short period of time. Many farm stores currently only carry 1% iodine solutions that have reduced effectiveness at killing pathogens.

Research on alternative navel dips, such as Continue reading