The Meat of the Matter: Selling Retail Cuts Off-Farm

Haley Zynda, OSU Extension Educator ANR, Wayne County

There is a continuing trend among animal product consumers – they want sustainably and humanely raised meat, milk, and eggs. Generation Z is the driving force behind consumers wanting to know exactly where their food comes from and the values behind the farming operation. With this trend, many cattle, hog, and sheep producers are selling animals to customers and sending the purchased animals off for custom processing. Other producers may be choosing to sell retail cuts in a roadside shop or farmers markets. If selling lamb directly off the farm is something your operation is currently doing or has discussed as a future enterprise, turning a profit on sales should be somewhere in the back of your mind.

Pennsylvania State University Extension has published a Continue reading

2021 Small Ruminant Webinar Series: Lamb Market Update Spring 2021

In Webinar #3 of the 2021 OSU Small Ruminant Webinar Series, Tim Barnes – OSU Extension ANR Educator in Marion County, gives viewers an overview of the 2021 spring lamb market. 

Thank you all for joining us for the 2021 OSU Small Ruminant Webinar Series! If you have any comments on how we can improve or ideas for future webinars, please contact Brady Campbell at campbell.1279@osu.edu or Christine Gelley at gelley.2@osu.edu

Marketing Lamb and Goat for Holidays

Melanie Barkley, Livestock Extension Educator, Penn State Extension
(previously published with Penn State Extension: July 2, 2012 – Updated Calendar for 2020 – 2024)

(Image Source: American Lamb Board)

The following is a listing of dates for various ethnic holidays with descriptions including the type of small ruminant required. For those interested in a complete yearly calendar outlining these specific holidays for 2020 – 2024, please find calendar list at the end of the article.

There are a number of ethnic holidays that sheep and goat producers may wish to target when marketing their animals. This creates an excellent opportunity for sheep and meat goat producers to plan their breeding seasons so that they can market their lambs or kids at the proper size for these holidays.

The United States currently has a population that varies greatly in their religious beliefs and in their ethnic backgrounds. According to data from the 2000 National Survey of Religious Identification and the 2000 American Religious Identity Survey, 76% identified themselves as Christian, 1.3% Jewish, and 0.5% Islamic. Data also showed that from 1990 to 2000, Islamic identification increased by 109%.

An important consideration when marketing lambs and goats for ethnic markets is Continue reading

Marketing Your Forages

A big shout out to Christine Gelley, OSU Extension Educator ANR, Noble County for her help in the development of this weeks newsletter! It takes a team to keep this page active and going. We are certainly thankful to have an amazing group that supports our small ruminant industry! Please enjoy this piece from Christine as she walks us through the process of appraising and marketing our forages.

Lamb Management During Poor Marketing Conditions

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

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 feeders 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 it is a

Continue reading

Tips for Selling Sheep and Goats Through Public Livestock Auctions

Susan Schoenian, Sheep & Goat Specialist, University of Maryland Small Ruminant Extension Program
(Previously shared on the Maryland Small Ruminant Page)

According to a 2001 NAHMS study, 56.8 percent of sheep operators sell their lambs through auction markets/sale barns. This percentage is probably higher in the Eastern U.S., where direct sales to packers and feeders are less common. For example, a 2003 study showed that 73.5 percent of West Virginia sheep producers market their lambs through livestock auctions. The percentages of goats sold at livestock auctions is probably similar, though a higher percentage of goats may be slaughtered on-farm.

There are many advantages to marketing livestock through a public livestock auction, sale barn, or stockyard. It is convenient and easy. There are usually regular weekly sales. Sometimes, there are special graded sales or sales that cater to the increased demand for sheep and goats prior to various religious holidays. Continue reading

Taking a Measured Approach to Lamb Production

Gail Keck
(Previously published in Ohio Farmer: December 20, 2018)

(Image Source: Ohio Farmer)

The first step in DNA analysis is linking a gene with performance characteristics.

Old photos on the office wall at Bunker Hill Farm show the Shultz family’s history of success in breeding and showing high-quality sheep. For most of the farm’s history, visual appraisals guided selection and breeding programs, but these days Bill Shultz and his wife, Susan, would rather rely on estimated breeding values (EBVs). Visual appraisals are still useful to spot lambs with disqualifying defects, but looks can be deceiving when evaluating growth rates, fat thickness, and Continue reading