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USDA Purchases $1.9 Million in American Lamb Racks

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service has purchased 119,700 pounds of lamb rack roasts in response to a Sept. 1 solicitation. The racks will be delivered between Oct. 16 and Dec. 31 for use in child nutrition and other related domestic food assistance programs.

A total of 319,200 pounds of lamb racks were not purchased because no bids were submitted. Superior Farms submitted the winning bid for 119,700 pounds at a price range of $15.89 to $16.03 per pound for a total of $1,907,619.00.

The American Sheep Industry Association successfully sought the approval of racks for purchase by USDA/AMS this summer citing the absence of foodservice, which is the primary market for the cut.


Sheep at Heart of Nevada’s New Great Basin Center

The Rafter 7 sheep flock will be at the center of the new Great Basin Research and Extension Center in Eureka County, Nev., which recently began operations in a new initiative for rural Nevada. The center is an extension of the University of Nevada’s College of Agriculture, Biotechnology and Natural Resources and includes a 644-acre ranch in Diamond Valley, near the town of Eureka, Nev.

“This operation will address real world problems through research and extension – providing useful knowledge to the ranchers and farmers of Nevada,” said Bill Payne, dean of the college. “It’s also a Nevada showcase, as much of the world looks like this, and the knowledge we generate here will be useful throughout drylands of the world.”

The university purchased the Rafter 7 flock in July 2020 in conjunction with the new center and will put on the annual Rafter 7 sheep sale on Saturday at the Eureka County Fairgrounds. Of the approximately 1,800 head of sheep in the flock, 230 are available for sale.

The sheep are both purebred Merinos and Rambouillet/Merino crossbreeds that were initially developed about 30 years ago under the direction of Hudson Glimp, professor emeritus of animal biotechnology at the university, in order to improve the national and state of Nevada sheep industry. Subsequently, the flock was sold and moved from the Walker Lake area to the Eureka area. The sheep are well adapted to rangeland production and to producing fine wool despite the harsh climate. Genetically, the flock has made major contributions to the American and international sheep industries.

“Right now, we are busy with getting the ranch and center established,” said Chris Pritsos, the college’s associate dean for research. “We’ve already built a new lambing facility. We’ll take a year to get the operation fully going. Right now, we’ll operate as a production herd, selling rams, lambs and wool.”

But the center isn’t just about selling sheep. It will also help fund more research, more programming through extension and other projects that will adapt to the needs of the community.

The center will ultimately include an administration, teaching and laboratory facility; herder and labor housing; refurbished domestic/stock well and water system; modernized irrigation facilities; and a redesign and reconfiguring of sheep corrals.

At an elevation of 6,481 feet in central Nevada, the Center is about 250 miles from the University’s main campus in Reno, and about 100 miles southeast of the Gund Research Ranch, also managed by the Experiment Station.

“One of our goals with this project over the past two years has been to get us out of the Reno-centric perspective and expand our presence throughout the state,” Pritsos said.

The center in Eureka found its new home through the generous gift of the Ruby Hills Mining Company, which is donating the ranch to the university. Payne said there are three main focuses at the center: sheep genetics and management, range restoration and improvement, and water-efficient cropping systems.

Source: University of Nevada


Australian Wool Market Sustains Positive Gains

After five weeks of successive losses the Australian wool market recorded positive movement this series, with all sectors of the market posting gains.

With Sydney and Fremantle only requiring one day of selling, the national quantity reduced. There were 19,654 bales on offer – 9,345 bales less than the previous week. The reduced offering attracted spirited bidding from the outset and the increased buyer sentiment pushed prices higher. By the end of the first day, the individual merino fleece Micron Price Guides in the eastern centers had risen by 27 to 53 cents.

On the back of these rises, the AWEX Eastern Market Indicator gained 39 cents for the day – a rise of 4.5 percent. In percentage terms, this was the largest rise in the EMI since January. The second day of selling, only Melbourne and Fremantle were in operation. As Fremantle did not enjoy the rises of the previous day, the MPGs in the west gained 25 to 39 cents. Melbourne, however, could not sustain its upward movement and the southern Merino fleece MPGs lost between 1 and 22 cents. The EMI lost 7 cents for the day, but still managed an overall positive movement for the week, gaining 32 cents for the series to close at 890 Australian cents.

The skirtings followed a similar path to the fleece, most types and descriptions generally added 30 to 40 cents for the week. The crossbreds enjoyed the largest gains (in percentage terms) this series. The 26- to 30-micron MPGs gained 25 to 46 cents. All three Merino Carding Indicators also recorded positive movement this week.

The national quantity increases next week to 33,558 bales. Fremantle again will only require one day of selling (Wednesday), while Sydney and Melbourne will be in operation both days.

Source: AWEX


NMSU Offers Sheep Webinars

The New Mexico State University Cooperative Extension Service has partnered with the Department of Animal and Range Sciences to bring sheep producers a webinar series that will cover reproductive, health and nutrition management, along with information on how to best market lamb and wool.

The first seminar will cover reproductive management and selection. The goal is to educate producers on reproductive and selection techniques that can help improve productivity in a flock. The second seminar will provide a standard health management protocol that can optimize flock health and performance. Nutrition goes hand-in-hand with health, so supplementation strategies – both in range and confinement situations – will be provided.

Marketing is becoming more challenging for many New Mexico sheep producers. The final seminar will provide insight from industry leaders to help producers find buyers of their products while still achieving good prices.

The webinars are set for Sept. 21, 23 and 25 at 6 p.m. mountain time.

Click Here for more information.

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