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Podcast: Recording Data During Lambing

The April edition of the ASI Research Update podcast offers sheep producers information on Recording Performance Data During Lambing from Dr. Tom Murphy of the U.S. Meat Animal Research Center in Clay Center, Neb.

“An animal’s genetic value for all of its traits for the rest of its life starts at conception. As soon as that egg and sperm meet, that animal’s genetic value is more or less fixed for the rest of its life. So, really performance reporting begins at mating – when we turn rams out with our ewes to form the next season’s lamb crop.”

Records that are often the most important to an operation’s bottom line – number of lambs weaned, weight of lambs weaned – are observed from lambing and after, Murphy said. In fact, lambing is one of the few times many producers have the opportunity to closely observe their ewes and witness their maternal traits firsthand.

Click Here to listen to the podcast.


Australian Wool Market Rebounds After Break

The Australian wool market reversed its downward trend in this series, recording an overall positive movement for the first time in six sales series. Sales resumed after the annual one-week Easter recess. Although there was an accumulation of wool during the break, sales were restricted to two selling days due to the Monday Anzac Day Public Holiday. The short week meant sales were held on Wednesday and Thursday.

Despite there only being two days available, the national offering was again of a reasonable size. Nationally there were 48,752 bales on offer – 5,164 more than the previous sale. The large offering received strong widespread competition from the opening lot. The strongest interest again was seen on the higher-yielding, lower-vegetable matter lines and those possessing favorable additional measurement results.

The higher prices achieved on these lines of wool was a driving factor in the overall positive movements in most Individual Micron Price Guides. Across the country, the MPGs for Merino fleece rose by between 1 and 30 cents, with only a few MPGs in the South not enjoying the rises.

The skirtings generally recorded small increases, with the exception being some high VM lots which were irregular. The crossbred sector also recorded overall gains, with the 26 micron MPG recording the largest gain for the week. The 38 cent rise in this indicator was an increase of nearly 6 percent.

The oddment market was the only sector to record an overall loss for the week. The end result of these market movements was a 10 cent increase in the AWEX Eastern Market Indicator. The EMI closed the series at 1,377 Australian cents.

Sales revert to the normal selling day pattern for next week. The national offering falls as 41,293 bales are currently expected to be offered and only two selling days are required (Tuesday/Wednesday) to accommodate the quantity.

Source: AWEX


Pipestone Hosting Facility Tour on June 7

The Pipestone Lamb and Wool Program is offering an idea-filled sheep facility tour. The program offers this tour every other year and this will be the seventh tour offered. The purpose of the tour is to give producers an opportunity to see various types of sheep facilities, including the latest innovations in sheep buildings, handling systems, feeding systems and facility layout.

The tour will be a full day, visiting five producers with new and remodeled facilities. All of these operations have devised their buildings and feeding systems to reduce labor and enable them to run larger numbers of ewes with the same labor. Tour participants will see lambing barns, hoop barns, remodeled buildings along with various feeding systems designed to minimize feed waste. In addition, this will be an opportunity to hear the philosophy of sheep production from successful sheep producers.

Tour participants are also welcome to attend a working chute display and demonstration on Monday, June 6, beginning at 5 p.m. with a demonstration beginning at 6 p.m. Multiple sheep equipment handlers are planning to be present and have equipment on display.

Visit for registration information and to view additional information about tour stops. For more information, call 800-658-2330, or email or

Source: Pipestone Lamb & Wool Program


Suffolk Foundation Offers Grant for Lamb Summit

The Suffolk Foundation is offering a new opportunity this year in the form of the Young Producers Travel Grant. This grant will cover expenses for one individual to attend the American Lamb Summit on Aug. 8-10 in East Lansing, Mich.

The American Lamb Summit is an educational conference designed to inspire production improvements and collaboration among all segments of the American lamb industry. Premier 1 Supplies, the American Lamb Board, Michigan State University and the Michigan Sheep Producers Association are partnering to host this unique educational event.

The goals of the American Lamb Summit are to increase the quality and consistency of American lamb and improve the American lamb industry’s competitiveness and productivity.

Any producer of Suffolk sheep, age 35 and under is eligible to apply for the funds that would cover:

  • Registration fee for the event;
  • Up to three night’s lodging;
  • Up to $750 in travel expenses (air fare or mileage).

Click Here for more information and the application. The application deadline is June 1.

Source: United Suffolk Sheep Association


NDSU Extension Plans Meat Production Webinar

The North Dakota State University Extension small farms team is hosting a comprehensive and interactive Local Meat Production webinar series scheduled for Tuesday evenings in May.

The five-part series will cover topics from production management to customer relations and will help prepare meat and poultry producers to effectively market their products in innovative ways. An interactive panel discussion and Q&A session will help attendees learn more about how they can produce and market high-quality meat and poultry products in North Dakota.

“It is a mission of our NDSU Extension small farms team to connect producers and consumers, and we feel we can provide expertise across the supply chain for our stakeholders,” said Lindy Berg, NDSU Extension agriculture and natural resources agent in Towner County.

The series begins at 7 p.m. central time on May 3 and continues for five weeks to provide the full supply chain perspective.

Click Here to register. Registration is required and registered participants will receive a confirmation email with the Zoom link.

“This series is perfect for producers wanting to meet the needs of consumers looking to buy locally,” said Travis Hoffman, NDSU and University of Minnesota Extension sheep specialist. “Our goal is to help small farmers differentiate their product, reach production marketing goals, and provide meat, poultry and eggs to consumers who wish to know where their food comes from.”

Source: NDSU Extension


FBI Reports Ransomware Attacks on Agricultural Co-Ops

On April 20, the Federal Bureau of Investigation released a report warning that ransomware actors might be more likely to attack agricultural cooperatives during critical planting and harvest seasons.

These attacks might disrupt operations, cause financial loss and negatively affect the food supply chain. The FBI recommends that those in the food and agriculture sector take steps to mitigate the threat of ransomware and prevent attacks.

Click Here for resources on ransomware prevention.

Source: Cornerstone Government Affairs


USDA to Accept Proposals for SAFE Initiative

Last week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency announced that it is accepting new or modified proposals for the State Acres for Wildlife Enhancement initiative. USDA also announced that FSA – in coordination with the National Resources Conservation Service – would provide Conservation Reserve Program participants with conservation planning assistance and FSA would allow cost-share assistance for producers re-enrolling in CRP.

Through SAFE, producers and landowners will restore vital habitat with high-priority state wildlife conservation goals by establishing wetlands, grasses and trees. Government entities, non-profits and private organizations are encouraged to submit proposals to FSA State Offices in June. Deadlines vary by state.

Source: Cornerstone Government Affairs


Ag Groups Need Access to Reliable Freight Rail Service

The American Sheep Industry Association joined the Agricultural Transportation Working Group recently in calling on the Surface Transportation Board to resolve nationwide challenges with freight rail service.

“The current inability of several Class I carriers to provide reliable rail service to their customers is impacting farmgate commodity prices and elevating food prices for consumers,” read the letter. “Neither of these outcomes is beneficial for individual Americans and the U.S. economy. While several factors contribute to these carriers’ rail service challenges, we consistently hear that significant reductions in train crew numbers and other personnel have severely hamstrung the rail carriers’ ability to maintain their prior levels of service, to overcome the typical day-to-day issues that affect railroad service plans, and to respond to changes in rail freight demand. Moreover, the mismatch between the importance of reliable and cost-effective freight rail transportation to our nation’s economy and the lack of effective competition between the Class I railroads remains of great concern to the ATWG members.

“The ATWG believes future service challenges can be deterred, or even prevented, through increased competition, and by implementing financial incentives for railroads to perform more efficiently utilizing the same concepts that railroads use to incentivize their customers to be more efficient. For this reason, the ATWG applauds the board’s recent decision to accept public comments on the Petition for Rulemaking in Docket No. EP 768 filed by the North America Freight Car Association, the National Grain and Feed Association, the Chlorine Institute and the National Oilseed Processors Association.

“The petition asks the board to adopt rules that will permit rail customers to levy financial penalties on railroads for their inefficient use of private railcars, which make up many of the cars that haul processed agricultural commodities. The ATWG believes the board should also explore other ways to utilize these principles to incentivize the Class I railroads to provide more reliable service for rail carrier provided railcars that haul most of the raw agricultural commodities.”


Ag Groups Seek Budget Support for Research

A coalition of agricultural associations – including the American Sheep Industry Association – recently requested congressional budget support for two research programs. The coalition asked for $10 million for Section 1433 Continuing Animal Health and Disease, Food Security and Stewardship Research, as well as $10 million for the Agricultural Genome to Phenome Initiative.

“Unfortunately, current funding by the United States Department of Agriculture to support the animal sciences is not proportionate with the economic contributions of animal agriculture and has remained stagnant for many years,” read a letter to U.S. Senate and House appropriations subcommittees for agriculture. “This disturbing trend was highlighted by the National Academy of Sciences in its report Critical Role of Animal Science Research in Food Security and Sustainability. The report recognizes the historic underfunding of animal sciences and calls for increased investments.

“The imbalance in support for animal science puts U.S. animal agriculture at a major disadvantage at a critical time when livestock and poultry producers are striving for global competitiveness, improving sustainability and working to feed a growing global population. Recent disease outbreaks, including the coronavirus pandemic and avian influenza, underscore the need to develop science-based tools to prevent and mitigate the impacts of zoonotic diseases. A proactive research effort is needed to help address these threats.”

A second letter to the same subcommittees in both the Senate and House called for fulfillment of the genome to phenome initiative as promised in previous legislation.

“Established in the 2018 Farm Bill, AG2PI focuses on collaborative science engagement and building a community of researchers across both crops and animals that will lay the foundation for expanding our knowledge of genomes and phenomes (traits) of crops and livestock that are vital to the U.S. agriculture industry. Understanding crop and livestock phenomes has been a significant roadblock in converting what we know about genetics into useful improvements in agriculturally important species. Significant research is needed to fully characterize phenomes and how these plant and livestock traits relate to genes and environmental factors.”


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