Forging Ahead

The lack of rain in Texas resulted in drought conditions. Not as much hay was harvested in our area, creating a shortage and raising the prices of hay beyond the profit margin for most sheep farmers and cattle ranchers.

I am forging ahead despite the increase in hay. I took three lambs to the sheep auction today, to sell for market lambs. I received compliments on how good my lambs looked. At the sale they brought the top price for lambs, $3.35 USD per pound.

I feel good when people say I have good looking lambs, many surprised my ten week old lambs weigh 70 pounds or more. I have worked hard with genetics and feed to produce good market lambs. My reward is top market price at the sale.

I am keeping my ewe numbers the same. Although I have the opportunity to sale some registered rams and ewes at a replacement sale next week. The market sales have been high for registered stock at replacement sales the past month. I am hoping to recoup some of the loss of high hay prices with good prices on culling some ewes earlier than planned. I was planning on selling the ewes next spring, but have decided to sell this fall, due to the price of registered replacement stock being good.

I will be breeding sheep in October, for spring lambing. Praying and hoping for rain to arrive this fall and through the winter so the grass will grow well next spring, when I am expecting a lot of lambs.

I am forging ahead. I have adjusted my plans on building my flock numbers in order to keep my genetics growing strong. At the end of the year, I may have fewer ewes, but I will have young ewes with strong genetics, a foundation I can continue to build on.

Sometimes in order to forge ahead, we have to cut back, select only a few of our very best ewes, to have a foundation to continue to forge ahead through the difficult time.

Some sheep farmers in my area of Texas are selling off all their ewes and rams, replacing them with registered ewes and rams with a faster growing genetics. Owning fewer sheep, but putting a strong genetic foundation together for producing lambs that grow fast. In the future spending less on money on feed, while producing a better market lamb. That has caused the genetically good ewes and rams to sell higher than they have in recent years. I am hoping to gain from this high demand for good quality registered breeding stock.

As sheep farmers we will face obstacles and varying circumstances making it difficult to make a profit. We need to rethink our business plan, make changes and even sell sheep we were wanting to keep, to move forward and continue to be sheep farmers.

There is always going to be a need for lambs to put on the dinner table. How we continue to provide the lambs, will depend on how we do a sheep farmers and the times we have to think of other options and plans.

The important response to any challenge is to forge ahead with a plan we believe will work for ourselves and our sheep farms.


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