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ASI Research Update Podcast Discusses Body Condition Scoring

Body condition scoring is a visual way to determine fat and muscle cover of sheep, and it plays an important role in helping producers evaluate the health of their ewe flock according to Clay Elliott, Ph.D., and an animal nutritionist with Purina.

“I think that a lot of producers should take advantage of the ability to take a look and make sure that those gals are in at least moderate body condition,” Elliott said in the latest ASI Research Update Podcast. “Really, what that means is that those gals are acceptable. That they’re not too thin and not too fat. We want them somewhere in between.”

The body condition scoring chart runs from one to five with one being too thin and five being too fat. Elliott said producers don’t want sheep to be on either end of that spectrum.

“The reason we want to do this is to enhance productivity,” he said. “It plays such a huge role in reproduction. It plays a huge role in immune support. If we get those gals too thin, the first thing that’s going to go is reproduction. On the other hand, if they’re obese, they’re also not going to breed.”

So, where do producers want their ewes to fall in the body condition scoring chart?

“Somewhere between a 2 and a 4,” Elliott said. “If those gals are at a 2, I certainly would say that they can use a little bit of some management, some input, some extra feed to move those girls to a 2.5 to 3.5. That’s what I’d probably deem ideal.”

Click Here to listen to the podcast.


Last Call for Photo Contest Entries

The deadline to submit entries in the 2021 ASI Photo Contest is nearly here. Photos are due in to the ASI office by 5 p.m. mountain time on Monday, Aug. 2.

A new category called Shepherd/Shepherdess has been added to the 2021 ASI Photo Contest to include photos of producers, herders or others working with sheep. The new category replaces the action category in this year’s contest.

More than $1,000 will be awarded, with awards of $125 going to the first-place photographer in each of the five categories listed below; $75 for the runner-up in each category; and a $50 prize for third place in each of the five categories.

The five categories in this year’s contest are:

  1. Shepherd/Shepherdess – Photographs of producers, shepherds or others working with sheep.
  2. Scenic (East) – Photographs of sheep outdoors located east of the Mississippi River. Photos entered in this category cannot include people.
  3. Scenic (West) – Photographs of sheep outdoors located west of the Mississippi River. Photos entered in this category cannot include people.
  4. Working Dogs and Protection Animals – Photographs in this category should show herding dogs, livestock guardian dogs or any other livestock protection animal in their natural environments. Photos must also include sheep in some fashion as proof that these truly are working animals.
  5. Open – Photographs with subject matter that does not fall into the four above-listed categories.

Entries should be submitted via email to or mailed to the ASI office at 9785 Maroon Circle, Suite 360, Englewood, CO 80112. All entries must be received in the office by 5 p.m. mountain time on Aug. 2.

Click Here for complete rules.


Wyoming Wool Throws Now on Sale

Sales from the University of Wyoming College of Agriculture and Natural Resources wool throw project will be sown back into the state’s sheep industry.

Wool shorn from sheep at the Laramie Research and Extension Center was processed and knitted into limited-edition, UW-themed throws at Mountain Meadow Wool in Buffalo, Wyo. Each throw contains a certificate of authenticity with a QR code that documents the story behind the blanket from raw wool to finished throw, and a University of Wyoming Department of Wool canvas bag from the 1950s.

Pre-sales began this week for the first 20 blankets, which also includes non-fundable token digital artwork tied to the blanket edition. The remaining blankets will be on sale Aug. 17.

The money will help expand research and training opportunities for students in the sheep industry, said Whit Stewart, UW associate professor and extension sheep specialist.

“It allows us to be really flexible to really solve problems Wyoming sheep producers are experiencing and to help give them more opportunities,” he said.

Many of the broad research efforts to help the sheep industry are at the whim of various grants, which can be hindered by time, resources and determined by individuals far removed from the actual operation, shared Stewart.

“What we will be able to do with these monies, even though it will take a while to build those up, I think it is responsive to how things are changing,” said Stewart. “Not only does it create awareness for a college that’s always been working for Wyoming, but it just shows we are adopting to the changing dynamic of your institution and our state.”

Click Here for more information.

Click Here to purchase a throw.

Source: University of Wyoming Extension


ALB Leads Fabrication Demonstration

The American Lamb Board gave a presentation and Texas A&M University professors fabricated a lamb carcass at the North American Meat Institute’s Center of the Plate Training held at Texas A&M in College Station, Texas, last week.

The presentation included information on the American lamb industry, the lamb consumer, retail sales of lamb during COVID-19 and foodservice use of lamb.

Attendees included representatives from meat companies, as well as meat buyers from foodservice distribution and retail companies. ALB information and recipes were distributed at the training.

Source: ALB


Tips for Safely Hauling Sheep

The Eastern Alliance for Production Katahdins blog recently offered some tips for safely hauling sheep, as well as dealing with biosecurity concerns when moving sheep between operations.

“Summer is often the busiest time for transporting sheep, since the buying and purchasing of new animals is at its peak. It is also the season for hauling animals to sales, shows, fairgrounds and livestock markets. Unfortunately, it can also be the most stressful time for animals with long trips, escalating temperatures and crowded conditions.

“First and foremost, do not load or transport animals that are lame or that you suspect are sick or carrying a contagious disease. Inspect hooves carefully for drainage and odor, and check for lumps, scabs or hair loss prior to loading. Consult your veterinarian for preventative antibiotic treatment for shipping fever and/or Thiamine and B vitamins for stress, especially when hauling sheep over long distances or during hot weather. When travelling out of state, be sure to arrange a veterinarian visit for a certificate of veterinary inspection. Some states, shows or sales may require testing, so be sure to allow adequate time to get results back.

“In general, the recommended space allowances for sheep on a trailer with divided compartments is 4.5 to 5 square feet per ewe and 2.5 to 3 square feet per 80 to 90-lb lamb. In warm weather and for long trips, more space will be required. Severe heat buildup can result from overstocking in hot, humid weather. When trailering only a few sheep, partition the sheep to the front of the trailer to prevent animals from being tossed around and getting injured while driving on hilly or winding roads, or in the case of sudden stops. Allow a minimum of 12 to 15 inches of headroom. Separate animals by size to avoid crushing injuries to smaller, more vulnerable lambs.”

Click Here to read the full blog post.

Source: Eastern Alliance for Production Katahdins


Virtual Workshops Highlight Targeted Grazing in California

The Range Management Advisory Committee – an advisory body to the California Natural Resources Agency under the Board of Forestry and Fire Protection – is co-hosting a virtual workshop with the California Fire Science Consortium to discuss the use of prescribed livestock grazing as a tool to support sustainable fuel reduction and environmental management in multi-use landscapes.

This year will focus on the ins and outs of contract grazing on public and private lands in the wildland-urban interface and other at-risk communities. Three separate workshops will highlight case studies of successful grazing contracts and partnerships across the state. The first workshop took place yesterday, but the final two are scheduled for Aug. 5 and Aug. 12, starting at 10 a.m. pacific time. These seminars are free and open to all.

Click Here for more information.


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