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Registration Open for 2021 ASI Annual Convention

Mountains of Opportunity await at the 2021 American Sheep Industry Association Annual Convention, but sheep producers won’t have to leave the comfort of their own farms or ranches to attend the first-ever virtual convention on Jan. 28-29.

Attend council and committee meetings, vote for ASI officers and set policy that will guide the American Sheep Industry for years to come simply by registering and logging in for this historic online convention.

While we’ll miss the opportunity to see America’s sheep producers face-to-face in January, a virtual meeting was a necessity due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Join us online as we give the latest presentations on sheep industry topics, new lamb companies, the American wool testing laboratory and as we conduct the essential business of governing the American Sheep Industry Association.

Click Here to register for the ASI Annual Convention.


ASI Research Update Podcast Available for Producers

In May, the American Sheep Industry Association rolled out the ASI Research Update Podcast. The podcast focuses on industry experts sharing relevant sheep production practices and industry research each month. The ASI Research Update Podcast provides American sheep producers access to a wealth of information on management, production and research topics to benefit their operation. 

The following podcasts are available:

  • Choosing the Right Parasite Treatment with Dr. Lisa Williamson, University of Georgia;
  • Breeding for Parasite Resistance with Dr. Scott Bowdridge, West Virginia University;
  • Vaccination Program with Rosie Busch, DVM, UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine;
  • Ram Selection and Management with Brent Roeder, Montana State University;
  • Breeding Season Flock Management with Dr. Whit Stewart, University of Wyoming;
  • Lamb Management – Weaning Time/When to Wean with Dr. Bruce Shanks, Lincoln University;
  • Nonlethal Predator Management Methods with Dr. John Tomecek, Texas A&M University and Dan Macon, University of California Cooperative Extension.

“As an organization, ASI is continually searching for new and improved ways to distribute information to our members. These podcasts do that in a way that is very accessible to anyone seeking high quality information about sheep production.” said Jimmy Parker, ASI Production, Education and Research Council chair.

“These podcasts add value in multiple ways as producers can gain valuable knowledge in a convenient way that fits into their schedule, while researchers gain recognition for their efforts for working on sheep industry issues. The podcasts give broad access to hard-earned data that might otherwise be overlooked by industry partners. It is truly a win for the sheep industry.”

According to ASI President Benny Cox, “Sheep producers are looking for information to help them be efficient and profitable. The ASI Research Update Podcasts offer a vast amount of information on relevant topics that producers can access at their convenience. I would encourage all producers – regardless of the size of their flocks – to take advantage of this valuable resource. I think most producers will find some nuggets of information they can put to use in their own operations.”

Upcoming podcasts will explore topics covering lethal predator management methods, shearing, winter ewe nutrition, preparing for lambing, controlling internal parasites and grazing management.

ASI partners with university extension personnel to identify topics and guests for the monthly podcasts. Jake Thorne with Texas A&M University hosts the monthly podcast.

Producers can listen to ASI Research Update Podcasts from anywhere on a phone, tablet or laptop. Visit and search for American Sheep Industry to tune-in. The podcasts can also be accessed from the Microsoft App Store and Google Play.


USDA-ARS Researchers Introduce Parasite Treatment

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service on Wednesday announced a groundbreaking treatment that prevents anemia, weight loss, poor wool and meat production, and even death in sheep.

ARS researchers partnered with Virginia Tech and the University of Massachusetts’ Medical School to solve H. contortus parasite infection, which also happens to be a challenging health problem in the American sheep industry. The parasite infects the stomach of ruminant mammals, feeding and interfering with digestion, before ultimately affecting the animal’s overall health and stability.

“The H. contortus parasite has developed resistance to virtually all known classes of anti-parasitic drugs,” said ARS Researcher Dr. Joseph Urban, who led the research team in testing and implementation of a para-probiotic treatment to kill the parasite that causes H.contortus.

The worm parasite mates within the animal and its fertilized eggs pass through the animal’s waste into the soil. The larvae then develop to re-infect other unsuspecting animals, spreading the infection throughout a pasture and creating a cycle of infection that hinders animal growth, development and production.

“This is a major problem, and the newly-developed treatment is derived from bacteria normally found in the soil that can produce a protein that binds to receptors in the intestine of the parasite,” said Urban. “The treatment will then kill the parasites and reduce debilitating infection in adult sheep.”

“When the treatment was given to infected sheep at Virginia Tech, there was a rapid and dramatic reduction of parasite reproduction and survival, without any negative effect observed in the sheep,” said Dr. Anne Zajac, professor of parasitology at Virginia Tech’s Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine.

Para-probiotics are “inactive probiotics,” or good bacteria that can still provide health benefits. Despite the growing interest in para-probiotic use, these types of treatments are not commercially available. The treatments are currently under review by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and will likely be commercially produced in large amounts once approved. This will help to protect an even larger population of animals across the country.

“Para-probiotics represent a new evolution and hope in dealing with a malignant and pervasive parasite,” said Dr. Raffi Aroian, a professor in the Molecular Medicine program at the University of Massachusetts’ Medical School. “The development of new therapeutics for this issue has been extremely difficult to come by, and I look forward to watching this new advancement unfold in the global and domestic industry.”

This project was supported by the National Institutes of Health/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and an Agriculture and Food Research Initiative Competitive Grant from USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

Source: USDA/ARS


California Producers Plan for Continued Podcasts

California sheep producers Ryan Mahoney (R. Emigh Livestock, Rio Vista) and Dan Macon (Flying Mule Sheep Company, Auburn) started their Sheep Stuff Ewe Should Know podcast in April as a much-needed distraction from COVID-19 worries.

“I think we were both looking for an excuse to spend an hour each week talking about sheep,” said Mahoney.

Macon, who is also a county-based livestock and natural resources advisor with the University of California Cooperative Extension, agreed, adding, “We have very different operations in terms of scale, breeds and grazing resources, but we’re both incredibly curious about how other folks are raising sheep – and how we might improve our own operations. In some ways, this podcast is just us recording the phone conversations we’d be having about sheep ranching anyway.”

Season one included 35 episodes covering business management, analyzing new enterprises, managing pastures, and marketing fiber and meat. Mahoney and Macon have big plans for season two.

“I’m hoping we can pull in sheep producers from other parts of the world,” said Mahoney. “There’s so much we can learn from each other’s experiences.”

“We really want to hear from listeners about topics they’d like us to explore, too,” added Macon.

Ideas can be sent to

Sheep Stuff Ewe Should Know is available on Spotify and from Apple Podcasts. For more information, follow Mahoney (@californiasheeprancher) and Macon(@flyingmule) on Instagram.

Source: Dan Macon


Wisconsin Webinar to Look at Forage

Feed represents the single largest expense for most sheep and goat producers, and forage often is a major component of small ruminant diets. Unfortunately, not all hay is created equal, nor do all ruminants need the same quality of forages.

Learn how to take an accurate forage sample, read a forage lab report, and then allocate your forages based on quality and stage of livestock production during a University of Wisconsin-Madison Division of Extension Small Ruminant webinar on Wednesday, Dec. 16, at 7:30 p.m.

The Small Ruminant webinar series, part of extension’s Farm Ready Research series, provides a new spin on the long-standing and popular sheep production video conferencing series that connected sheep and goat producers around the state.

The topic for the first webinar of this is series – Forage Sampling and Analysis: Why, How & Feeding Forage to Your Flock – will be led by Todd Taylor, UW-Madison shepherd; Ryan Sterry, extension St. Croix County agriculture agent; and Ashley Olson, extension Vernon County agriculture agent. The program includes time for producer questions and discussions.

There is no charge to participate in the sessions, but pre-registration is required to allow access to the session. Extension recognizes that producers are receiving information for a lot of meetings this winter. The Farm Ready Research webinar website is your place to find all information about UW-Madison Extension Agriculture programs.

Source: University of Wisconsin Extension


Australian Market Soaring Toward Year’s End

The Australian wool market experienced two selling days of steady rises to post overall increases for the series. The national offering rose slightly to 34,045 bales – an increase of 1,898 bales compared to the previous week.

This week was the second to last sale of the calendar year and many exporters reported that this was the final opportunity to purchase wool required for December shipment. That created a sense of urgency for the series, which resulted in an increase in buyer sentiment and demand. This in turn led to an overall increase in the prices required to acquire the wool needed to fill these orders.

By the end of the series, all Merino fleece types had recorded solid rises. The finest microns enjoyed the greatest lifts in price. The individual Merino Price Guides for 17.0 micron and finer gained between 56 and 142 cents. The MPGs for 18.0 through 21.0 micron added between 46 and 81 cents.

The rises in these MPGs helped to push the AWEX Eastern Market Indicator up by 54 cents for the series, closing the week at 1,198 Australian cents. This equated to a rise of 4.7 percent. Due to further strengthening of the Australian dollar, when viewed in U.S. dollar terms, the rise was even higher. The EMI added 47 U.S. cents, closing at 892 U.S. cents for an increase of 5.5 percent.

After three weeks of consecutive falls, the crossbred sector bounced back this week with gains felt across all types and descriptions. The largest increase was in the 32.0-micron MPG, where the 37-cent rise was a weekly gain of 15.2 percent.

Next week is the final sale of the year and the last auction opportunity before the annual three-week Christmas recess. Many sellers are taking this chance to offer their wool, pushing quantities higher. Currently, there are 49,124 bales available to the trade in Sydney, Melbourne and Fremantle.

Source: AWEX


Video of the Week

In the latest episode of the Unrivaled series from the American Wool Council, learn why one of the world’s most important men (especially this time of year) wears American wool.

Click Here to watch the video.


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