Image of sheep

ASI Research Update: Shed Lambing Systems

This month’s American Sheep Industry Association Research Update podcast takes a look at Shed Lambing Systems with Dr. J. Bret Taylor of the U.S. Sheep Experiment Station in Idaho. The podcast follows in the footsteps of the previous podcast, which looked at Pasture Lambing Systems.

“Shed lambing is a very brief period of intensive management that you introduce to your system,” Taylor said. “Basically, you are pairing a ewe with her lambs at the time of birth in a sheltered and convenient environment so you can initiate proper husbandry practices for the sole purpose of increasing the probability that those lambs are going to survive all the way through weaning.”

Click Here to listen to the most recent podcast.


History of Scrapie Video Now Available

The American Sheep Industry Association recently released a video entitled The History of Scrapie, which is available for viewing on the association’s YouTube channel.

“It’s really a success story,” said Dr. Stephanie Ringler with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. Ringler credits the cooperative efforts of federal and state government agencies along with American sheep producers for tackling this issue.

Click Here to watch the video.


Australian Wool Market Continues Strong Run

The Australian wool market continued to climb overall, generally adding further increases to those experienced in last week’s series. The strong finish seen in the West at the end of last week – where some of the individual Micron Price Guides finished above the East – carried into the series opening in the Eastern centers.

Buyer sentiment was strong from the start, and it was evident from the first few lots that solid price increases were in the cards for the day. By the end of the first day, the MPGs in Sydney and Melbourne had risen by between 9 and 57 cents. In the West, the increases were smaller – between 0 and 10 cents – as the West generally started from higher opening levels. With positive movements across all sectors, the AWEX Eastern Market Indicator gained 19 cents for the day.

The EMI has enjoyed a small upward run – it rose the previous five selling days – adding 41 cents across these sales. The last time the EMI had a longer sequence of positive movements was back in June of 2022, when it rose for six consecutive selling days.

On the second selling day, the market was more subdued and lost some of the first-day gains. In the Merino fleece, the MPG movements nationally were between plus 2 and minus 30 cents. The EMI dropped 5 cents for the day. The EMI closed the week 14 cents higher at 1,172 Australian cents.

Minimal currency fluctuation in this series meant the upward market movements were driven more by buyer demand than currency. The EMI also rose in USD terms, closing the week 21 U.S. cents higher at 764 cents. The AWEX Four Week Forecast shows the national offering reducing in the coming weeks

Next week there are currently 41,433 bales on offer in Sydney, Melbourne and Fremantle.

Click Here for the Australian Wool Report Prices in US Dollars Per Pound.

Source: AWEX


USDA Looks to Protect American Livestock

To further protect the United States livestock industry from the threat posed by highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza, USDA is sharing a number of actions that we are taking with our federal partners to help us get ahead of this disease and limit its spread.

This week, USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service announced a Federal Order requiring the following measures, effective Monday, April 29:

Mandatory Testing for Interstate Movement of Dairy Cattle

  • Prior to interstate movement, dairy cattle are required to receive a negative test for Influenza A virus at an approved National Animal Health Laboratory Network laboratory.
  • Owners of herds in which dairy cattle test positive for interstate movement will be required to provide epidemiological information, including animal movement tracing.
  • Dairy cattle moving interstate must adhere to conditions specified by APHIS.
  • As will be described in forthcoming guidance, these steps will be immediately required for lactating dairy cattle, while these requirements for other classes of dairy cattle will be based on scientific factors concerning the virus and its evolving risk profile.

Mandatory Reporting

  • Laboratories and state veterinarians must report positive Influenza A nucleic acid detection diagnostic results (e.g. PCR or genetic sequencing) in livestock to USDA/APHIS.
  • Laboratories and state veterinarians must report positive Influenza A serology diagnostic results in livestock to USDA/APHIS.

USDA has identified spread between cows within the same herd, spread from cows to poultry, spread between dairies associated with cattle movements, and cows without clinical signs that have tested positive. On April 16, APHIS microbiologists identified a shift in an H5N1 sample from a cow in Kansas that could indicate that the virus has an adaptation to mammals. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention conducted further analysis of the specimen sequence, which did not change their overall risk assessment for the general public, because the substitution has been seen previously in other mammalian infections and does not impact viral transmission. Additionally, APHIS’ National Veterinary Services Laboratories found H5N1 in a lung tissue sample from an asymptomatic cull dairy cow that originated from an affected herd and did not enter the food supply.

The novel movement of H5N1 between wild birds and dairy cows requires further testing and time to develop a critical understanding to support any future courses of action. This Federal Order is critical to increasing the information available for USDA. Requiring positive test reporting will help USDA better understand this disease and testing before interstate movement will limit its spread.

While we are taking this action today, it is important to remember that thus far, we have not found changes to the virus that would make it more transmissible to humans and between people. While cases among humans in direct contact with infected animals are possible, our partners at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention believe that the current risk to the public remains low.

Additionally, we continue to see affected cows recover after supported care with little to no associated mortality. We also continue to work with our partners in the states and industry to emphasize the critical importance biosecurity plays in limiting disease spread for all livestock and poultry.

The Federal Order may be viewed here and is effective on Monday, April 29.

Further, in an effort to maximize understanding and research on H5N1 in dairy cattle, on April 21, APHIS made publicly available 239 genetic sequences from the U.S. H5N1 clade influenza virus recently found in samples associated with the ongoing HPAI outbreak in poultry and wild birds, and the recent H5N1 event in dairy cattle. APHIS has also offered virus samples to interested researchers to facilitate epidemiological study. Increasing our understanding of this disease and how it spreads is critical to stopping it. This is why APHIS is urging dairy cattle producers and those who work in or with the industry to share epidemiological information from affected farms, even if they are not planning to move cattle interstate. APHIS further urges producer participation in public health assessments to continue to confirm worker safety and monitor for any potential changes in the virus that could impact transmissibility.

In addition, our partners in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration released an update on the ongoing work to ensure continued effectiveness of the federal-state milk safety system. It is important to emphasize that, based on the information and research available to us at this time, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and USDA believe that our commercial milk supply is safe because of both the pasteurization process and the required diversion or destruction of milk from sick cows. Pasteurization has continuously proven to inactivate bacteria and viruses in milk. The FDA and USDA continue to work closely to collect and evaluate additional data and information specific to avian influenza in dairy cattle and to support state counterparts as this emerging disease in dairy cattle is managed.

As USDA continues to take steps to protect the health of livestock, the department continues to work closely with federal partners at the CDC on protecting the health of people and FDA on protecting the safety of the food supply. The U.S. government is committed to addressing this situation with urgency.

To learn more about USDA’s response to HPAI in dairy cattle, visit

Source: USDA


NDSU Offers Public Sheep Auction

The North Dakota State University Department of Animal Sciences will offer a public auction of Romanov ewes and select Romanov and EasyCare rams. Interested buyers can bid on a total of 44 ewes and seven rams.

The ewes consist of: 16 fall 2023 ewes; eight 2-year-old ewes; 12 3-year-old ewes; and eight mature ewes. The herd sires consist of: five EasyCare rams; and two Romanov rams.

Romanov sheep have been a longstanding part of research at NDSU. They have served as a model for developmental programming for fetal growth. These prolific ewes have been key in learning the role of placenta and early pregnancy development that has led to advances in sheep reproduction.

“Production economics suggest that the largest driver of profitability is number of lambs born,” said Travis Hoffman, NDSU and University of Minnesota Extension sheep specialist. “The Romanov breed sets the standard for increasing lambing percentage in commercial operations, similar to productivity of Finnsheep. With the increased merchandising of ethnic lambs in the spring, these prolific ewes fit the model for profit.”

The NDSU ewes have an average lamb crop born of around 250 percent in the spring and 220 percent in fall, Hoffman said. The half-blood Romanov lambs grow quickly at a rate of about 0.7 pounds per day prior to market, reaching 80 to 100 pounds at 5 months old.

Interested sheep producers can look at sheep and bid on the event page at Check the NDSU Animal Science website or NDSU Sheep Extension Facebook page for photos and videos. Bids are due via the online closed bid form on May 6 by 5 p.m. central time. Bid off will happen the evening of May 6, with ewes and rams sold to the highest bidders. Buyers must arrange transportation and pick up their sheep prior to May 17.

The NDSU Sheep Unit continues to serve the university mission with registered Hampshire and Columbia and commercial Dorset and White Dorper/Royal White ewes. Also, the NDSU Hettinger Research Extension Center maintains registered Columbia sheep and a large Rambouillet range flock.

For more information, contact Hoffman at 701-231-2222 or or the Animal Sciences Department at

Source: North Dakota State University


ALB’s Lamb Jam Expands

Lamb Jam has become an annual, month-long dine-around celebration featuring local chefs and innovative lamb dishes.

This year, the event has expanded to include seven tour cities: Atlanta (newest addition); Austin; Boston; Washington, D.C.; Denver; San Francisco; and Seattle.

Restaurants and chefs in each market will spotlight American lamb with delicious menu items while highlighting the family-operated farms and ranches raising sheep in the United States.

Click Here to check out all the restaurants participating in the 2024 Lamb Jam.

“It’s exciting to generate more than 50 new lamb dishes and recipes from these events,” said ALB Chairman Jeff Ebert. “In addition to promoting American lamb in these seven markets, Lamb Jam also creates lasting relationships with chefs and our hope is that many of the participating restaurants are inspired to keep American lamb on their menus permanently.”

Diners who participate in the Lamb Jam contests will be entered to win gift cards to local participating restaurants, and the grand prize drawing will be for two tickets to the Lamb Jam Finale at the Platform by James Beard Foundation on Oct. 15.You can help make Lamb Jam a huge success by dining at participating restaurants or by simply sharing information about the event. Watch the Lamb Checkoff Facebook page or Lamb Jam posts to share, or reach out to Rae Villa at for creative assets you can post and share on your pages.

Source: ALB


Pipestone Hosts Sheep Facilities Tour

Mark your calendar and plan to join Pipestone Lamb and Wool Program’s 2024 Sheep Facilities Tour based in Pipestone, Minn., on June 4. The program has an excellent set of farm tours planned to highlight the facilities and sheep management programs of outstanding sheep operations. This year’s tour will focus on repurposing and reutilizing existing livestock facilities.

The purpose of the Sheep Facility Tour is to provide sheep producers at all levels of experience with real-world insights and applications of sheep facilities, including innovations in sheep buildings, low-labor lambing barns, handling systems, feeding systems, and facility design and flow.

This full-day program includes farm tours of six outstanding Pipestone Lamb and Wool Program members. Each operation has facilities and feeding systems that reduce labor, allowing them to increase their flock size without additional labor inputs. Throughout the tour, the management philosophies of each of these outstanding sheep managers will also be highlighted.

Click Here for more information. Please register by contacting Sue Lovell at or 507-847-7929.

Source: Pipestone Lamb and Wool Program


Legislative Update from Washington, D.C.

The American Sheep Industry Association’s lobbying firm – Cornerstone Government Affairs – offered an update this week on legislative issues in our nation’s capital.

Farm Bill Listening Sessions Conducted

This past week, the House Committee on Agriculture Republican (majority) staff hosted a series of briefing updates for agricultural stakeholders on the next Farm Bill. Committee staff provided a high-level overview of the work which had been completed to date and a status update on the current state of affairs and their current proposal.

Chairman GT Thompson (Penn.) has made it evident that he wants to pass a bipartisan Farm Bill that addresses the needs of American farmers and ranchers and continues to try and negotiate with his Democratic counterparts to get to a good place on the Farm Bill before going into a full committee markup.

From a broader sheep industry perspective, it was articulated that the orphan programs were to maintain funding into the next Farm Bill, so that would include important programs to the American Sheep Industry Association, such as the Sheep Production and Marketing Grants and the Wool Research and Promotion Trust Fund. Committee staff also mentioned that there would be increases in reference prices and loan rates across Title I (commodities) which would include the marketing assistance loan rate for wool and mohair.

Other related livestock industry priorities that were mentioned included improvements to the “three-legged stool” of the vaccine bank and the Animal Disease Preparedness and Response Program. Ultimately, staff signaled an expected committee markup to take place during the week of May 13 or May 20 and mentioned title summaries and overviews of priorities within each title are expected to be released in the leadup to the markup. While a committee markup is seemingly in the works, there are still many unknowns as far whether a Farm Bill can even make it to the House floor and pass under the current dynamics of the 118th Congress.

Skip to content