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Sheep Update

Livestock Update, June 2002

Scott Greiner, Extension Animal Scientist, Sheep, VA Tech

2002 Virginia Ram Lamb Performance Test Begins
A total of 74 rams from 21 Virginia consignors were delivered April 30 to the Virginia Sheep Evaluation Station located at the Shenandoah Valley Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Steeles Tavern, VA. Breeds of rams consigned include: 39 Suffolk, 18 Dorset (both fall and winter born), 7 Hampshire, 4 Dorper, and 3 Southdown. After a two-week adjustment period, performance will be measured over a 63-day gain test. At the completion of the test, rams will be evaluated for reproductive and structural soundness. The top 60 eligible rams will sell at the station on Saturday, August 24. Complete performance information will be available on all rams, including ultrasonic estimates of carcass merit. For information please contact Scott Greiner, phone 540-231-9159.

2002 Virginia Commercial Ewe Lamb Development Program
Rules and regulations and consignment information for the 2002-03 Virginia Commercial Ewe Lamb Development Program are now available. The Virginia Commercial Ewe Lamb Development Program was initiated in 2000 with three primary objectives: 1) to provide commercial producers a source of quality replacement ewes, with documented genetics, management, and health status, 2) to provide an opportunity for producers to market commercial breeding stock, and 3) to serve as an educational tool in sheep production and management. The program is sponsored by the Virginia Sheep Producer's Association and is conducted at the Virginia Sheep Evaluation Station, located at the Virginia Tech Shenandoah Valley Agriculture Research and Extension Center located near Steeles Tavern. Commercial crossbred ewe lambs will be delivered to the station on September 10. Ewe lambs will be developed on grass with supplemental grain mix provided to optimize growth and reproductive performance during the development program. Ewes will be co-mingled and allocated to breeding groups based on age, weight, and breed. Ewes will be mated to purebred rams, which have all been evaluated on the 2002 Virginia Performance Ram Lamb Test. Rams will be placed with the ewes October through mid-December. Breeding dates will be recorded on all ewes, and pregnancy status will be determined on all ewes in late December via ultrasound. A sale will be held in early January for all pregnant ewes. Ewes will be sold in consignor groups of 4-5 ewes based on projected lambing date and genetics. In the first two years of the program, a total of 182 bred ewe lambs have sold for an average of $180 per head. Average development and sale costs have averaged $41 per ewe, for a return of $139 per ewe to the consignor. In the fall seasons of 2000 and 2001, a total of 209 ewe lambs were exposed to rams for a 50-day breeding season. Of these 209 ewe lambs, 189 were confirmed pregnant (90.4%). For consignment information, contact Scott Greiner at 540-231-9163.

2002 Virginia-North Carolina Wool Pool
The Virginia-North Carolina Wool Pool will be marketing wool to Mid-States Wool Growers Cooperative Association based in Canal Winchester, Ohio. Each pool will sell wool on either a cash or grade and yield basis. Producers are encouraged to package, handle and store their wool in an appropriate manner in order to maximize the value of their wool clip. Wool should be packaged by type/grade (ewe vs. lamb wool, long staple vs. short wools, fine vs. medium wools) in plastic bags, and be clean, dry, and have foreign material (straw, mud, manure) removed prior to packaging. Following is a list of local pool delivery dates, and locations where wool will be picked up by Mid-States:

June 17 - Winchester, VA
June 18 - Orange, VA
June 19 - Farmville, VA
June 20 - Augusta Co. (Verona), VA
June 21 - Christiansburg, VA
June 25 - Wytheville, VA
June 26 - Tazewell, VA
June 27 - Lebanon, VA
July 8 - Sparta, NC
July 9 - Williamston, NC and Asheville, NC
July 10 - Albemarle, NC

To confirm the above dates, and for more information regarding specific times and locations, contact your local Virginia Cooperative Extension Office.

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