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ASI Video Looks at EID in Auction Markets

As sheep producers all around the United States research the merits and cost effectiveness of using electronic identification within their own flocks, the American Sheep Industry Association is looking at the steps necessary to incorporate EID in the nation’s auction markets.

Working through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, ASI led a pilot program this spring at the Delta (Colo.) Sales Yard to evaluate the feasibility of integrating an EID system for sheep in an auction market setting, as well as what benefits it might provide to federal and state animal health officials, and sheep producers. Most of the approximately 2,000 auction markets in the United States are not currently equipped to use EID on a daily basis.

Click Here to watch a video about the project.

The use of visual Scrapie tags has been a key component of the National Scrapie Eradication Program for many years as the United States looks to secure Scrapie-free status. But such tags provide limited uses and can only be checked and recorded by physically stopping the sheep to read them. EID tags would allow for increased traceability – a key component in the fight against infectious diseases – without slowdowns in the process that are detrimental to the speed of commerce at auction markets and beyond.

Electronic tags also provide producers with a reliable opportunity to capture and record data ranging from weaning rate to pounds of wool produced to loin eye size and more. The use of such data can assist producers in making educated decisions about their flock. In addition, consumers have become increasingly insistent in knowing where and how the animal products they purchase have been produced. The use of EID makes it easier to meet such demands.

ASI would like to acknowledge its partners in the pilot project: Allflex Livestock Intelligence, the Colorado Department of Agriculture, the Colorado Wool Growers Association, the Delta Sales Yard and Etchart Livestock. Special thanks also goes to Ernie Etchart, Julie Hansmire of Campbell-Hansmire Sheep, and Ken and Oogie McGuire of Desert Weyr for their contributions.


ASI Research Update: Parasite Management

This month’s ASI Research Update Podcast takes a look at parasite management with Dr. Scott Bowdridge of West Virginia University.

Click Here to listen to the podcast.


LMIC: Sheep and Lamb Inventory Outlook

As of Jan. 1, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service reported total sheep and lamb inventory levels at 5.065 million head, down 2 percent – or 105,000 head – from 2021. This was the largest decline of inventory since 2014, which saw a 2.3 percent decline. But in the last five years, the annual average decline has been less than 1 percent.

The breeding flock also saw a 1.9 percent decline last year to 3.710 million head, which was partly due to annual mature sheep slaughter of 141,000 head in 2021. That’s a 24.5 percent – or 28,000 head – increase from 2020, and the highest level in a decade. This year, weekly mature sheep slaughter through mid-September is tracking nearly 24 percent below last year’s level – and near typical levels – indicating the breeding flock is likely to stabilize.

Lower ewe prices this year have partially slowed the rate of mature sheep slaughter to more typical levels, which are expected to be around 120,000 head. The three-market average (Colo., Texas and S.D.) good slaughter ewe price has been averaging about $82 per cwt. since mid-June. During the same period last year, the average was $100 per cwt. From a salvage value perspective, last year provided an economic opportunity for producers to sell cull ewes at levels that had never been seen based on available price data through 2006. Although ewe prices have moved lower this year, price levels are still well above the five-year average for the mid-June to September per of $73 per cwt.

The Livestock Marketing Information Center is currently forecasting all sheep and lamb inventory levels as of Jan. 1, 2023, to be down less than 1 percent, which follows typical annual declines that have occurred for the last two decades. This is based on a total breeding flock decline of less than 1 percent to 3.680 million head and inventory levels of ewes 1 year and older of about 2.9 million head.

The current LMIC forecast is working with a 2023 lamb crop of about 3.1 million head, which leads to a lambing percentage of 106.5 percent – just below the 2022 level of 106.8 percent and the five-year average of 107 percent. The forecast does depend on producers’ ability to rebuild as drought pressures have remained, which could constrain available feed and forage supplies.

Click Here for the full article.

Source: LMIC


Shearing Brochures Available from ASI

A new Preparing for Shearing brochure is now available from the American Sheep Industry Association.

The color brochure offers tips for producers beginning as early as two to five months before shearing, but focuses on the necessary preparation in the final days before the shearer arrives onsite and on shearing day to complete this task. The quality of most fleeces can be significantly increased (or diminished) on shearing day, so producers are encouraged to do everything possible to increase the quality of their wool clip.

Click Here to download a printable pdf of the brochure.

For hard copies to distribute at producer-oriented events and meetings, contact ASI’s Heather Pearce at


Australian Wool Market Continues Downward Slide

The Australian wool market continued its downward slide, recording an overall loss for the fifth consecutive series. The loss was again driven by falls in Merino fleece types, particularly in wool 19 micron and finer.

The AWEX Eastern Market Indicator dropped by 24 cents for the series, a reduction of 1.9 percent. The EMI closed the week at 1,255 Australian cents. The EMI has now extended its run of weeks without an increase to 11. The last time the EMI recorded an increase was back in Week 51 of the previous season (June 22). The EMI has fallen by 219 cents during this period – a 14.9 percent reduction.

A sharp drop in the Australian dollar compared to the U.S. dollar was not enough to prevent the market falling. The AUD dropped by 1.99 cents since the close of last week, to 64.74 U.S. cents. The majority of Australian wool is traded in U.S. dollars, meaning that purchases for overseas customers were significantly cheaper. Despite this, the market still fell and the overall loss in U.S. dollar terms was larger. The EMI lost 41 U.S. cents for the series, closing at 812 U.S. cents – a 4.8 percent reduction. This is the lowest point the USD EMI has been since October 2020.

Despite the weak start to the 2022-23 season, when compared to the same time last year the total dollar amount of wool sold at auction is tracking higher. This season there has been $555 million of wool sold at auction – an increase of $55 when compared to the corresponding sale of the 2021-22 season. This is due in part to there being 39,261 more bales offered this season.

Quantities for next week increase by more than 25 percent. Currently, there are expected to be 40,097 bales on offer in Fremantle, Melbourne and Sydney. Selling will remain on Wednesday and Thursday due to a Monday Public Holiday in Sydney.

Source: AWEX


ALB’s Cultural Influencers Broaden Consumer Outreach

Recognizing the growing importance of minority populations as lamb consumers and growing interest in global flavors, the American Lamb Board has expanded its network of social media influencers to include cultural experts. The international ties continue each month with a new featured global flavored recipe on ALB’s social media channels and the opportunity for followers to receive a spice tin associated with making the recipe.

Jenny Dorsey – who specializes in Asian cuisine – is not only a chef and cookbook author, but also a recipe developer and food stylist. Her Instagram page – @chefjennydorsey – has almost 33,000 followers. Her American lamb posts – with original recipes – include Grilled Lamb with Caramelized Tomato Sauce, Lamb Onigiri and Lamb Stir Fry.

Originally from Bombay, Nik Sharma is a food writer, photographer, cookbook author and recipe developer who specializes in authentic Indian cuisine. Sharma’s Instagram page – @abrowntable – has more than 110,000 followers and his love for lamb is shared on his blog through recipes such as Lamb and Dal Curry No. 1, Lamb Pizza with Pickled Onions and Grilled Lamb Chops with Garam Masala and Cumin.

Mahy Elamin is a cookbook author, culinary instructor and creator of Two Purple Figs blog. Her Instagram page – @Twopurplefigs – has 255,000 followers. Elamin’s Mediterranean background and love for lamb can be seen in the large variety of lamb recipes on her blog such as Carne Asada Fries, Lamb Birria and Crunchwrap Supreme.

Arwa is the Libyan-American content creator of Fig & Olive Platter, a food blog focused on simple Middle Eastern and Mediterranean recipes. Her Instagram account – @figandoliveplatter – has 215,000 followers and features original American lamb recipes such as Lamb Shawarma and Middle Eastern Lamb Puff Pastry Triangles.

Cosette Posko is Lebanese and her food blog – Cosette’s Kitchen – features recipes that celebrate and preserve her cultural traditions. Her Instagram page – @cosetteskitchen – has 34,000 followers. Some of her American lamb recipes are Lebanese Lamb Tacos, Fasolia BiLahame (Middle Eastern Lamb and Bean Stew) and Grilled Lamb Rib Chops – Pomegranate Molasses and Cinnamon with Mint.

Greek and Mediterranean is what Ful-Filled is all about – prepared with love and eaten to fuel body, mind and soul. This Instagram page has shared American lamb recipes such as Citrus Honey Glazed Lamb Shanks with its 114,000 followers.

For additional information on how influencers have added more power to ALB consumer outreach, click here.

Source: ALB


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.

Sen. Menendez Blocks Key Negotiator from Confirmation:

This past week, it was reported that Sen. Bob Menendez (N.J.) is currently blocking the expeditious confirmation of Doug McKalip to be chief ag negotiator within the Office of the United States Trade Representative. Thus far, McKalip has faced few hurdles to his nomination process and has enjoyed bipartisan support of a quick confirmation process. Sen. Menendez’s reasoning for holding up the nomination is to receive assurances from USTR on providing greater oversight and transparency of U.S. trade policy.

USDA Extends Grazing Lands Conservation Deadline: 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has extended the application window for Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative Cooperative Agreements to Thursday, Oct. 6. USDA is providing $12 million in partnerships to expand conservation on grazing lands and to develop further access to conservation technical assistance.

Project proposals for the cooperative agreements must recognize and address obstacles to accessing grazing assistance for producers. The partnerships are urged to include engagement with historically underserved producers. Additionally, the project must address at least one of the priorities the USDA identifies for the application to be considered. Project priorities include local natural resource concerns, climate-smart agriculture and forestry, equity, and strategies focusing on conservation benefits.

White House Supports Competitive Meat Markets:

USDA has announced two new proposals aimed at supporting competitive meat and poultry markets, as part of its role in the president’s Competition Council. These efforts include publishing the proposed Inclusive Competition and Market Integrity Rules under the Packers and Stockyards Act, and a new $15 million Agricultural Competition Challenge to increase collaboration with the state attorneys general on enforcement of competition laws.

USDA’s proposed Inclusive Competition and Market Integrity Rules seek to protect “market vulnerable individuals” who are those at increased risk of exclusionary treatment in the marketplace. The regulations would also prohibit retaliatory practices that interfere with lawful, protected activities, in addition to identifying deceptive practices that violate the P&S Act. The proposed rule also recommends recordkeeping requirements to support evaluation of regulated entity compliance.

Senate Ag Committee Advances Nominees:

On Tuesday, the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry voted to advance key USDA nominees, including the nominee for under secretary for trade and foreign agricultural affairs – Alexis Taylor. She currently serves as director of the Oregon Department of Agriculture, where she oversees agricultural policy directives. Taylor majored in political science and received a minor in communications from Iowa State University.

Other nominations that advanced out of committee included the nominee to be USDA’s under secretary for food safety – Jose Esteban – and the nominee to be a member of the Farm Credit Administration board – Vincent Logan. Now that the nominations have been voted out of committee, they will move to the Senate floor for full consideration.

USDA Announces FSA Chief of Staff

This week, USDA announced that Riya Mehta will serves as chief of staff for the Farm Service Agency. Since November 2021, Mehta has served as policy advisor for the agency, working on development and implementation of pandemic programs and disaster assistance, conservation and farm loans. Prior to USDA, Mehta worked in Rep. Jimmy Panetta’s (Calif.) office and was a legislative fellow for the Senate Agriculture Committee.

Source: Cornerstone Government Affairs


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