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Sheep Update

Livestock Update, February 2003

Scott P. Greiner, Extension Animal Scientist, Sheep, VA Tech

2002-03 Virginia Commercial Ewe Lamb Development Program Results
The 3rd Virginia Commercial Ewe Lamb Development Program concluded with a sale held in conjunction with the Virginia-North Carolina Shepherds' Symposium at the Rockingham County Fairgrounds in Harrisonburg, VA on January 11, 2003. The goal of the commercial ewe lamb development and marketing program is to provide a source of quality bred replacement ewe lambs with documented health, management, and genetics for Virginia commercial flocks. The program was initiated in early September when crossbred ewe lambs from 10 consignors were delivered to the Virginia Sheep Evaluation Station located at the Virginia Tech Shenandoah Valley Agriculture Research and Extension Center located near Steeles Tavern. Ewe lambs were developed on grass with supplemental grain mix provided to optimize growth and reproductive performance during the development program and breeding season. The ewes were mated to either Suffolk or Dorset ram lambs, which were selected from the 2002 Virginia Performance Ram Lamb Test. After a 45-day breeding season, pregnancy diagnosis was conducted via ultrasound. Of the 116 ewe lambs exposed, 98 were confirmed pregnant. These bred ewe lambs were sold in consignor groups of two to five head based on breed, service sire, and expected lambing date (ranging from early March to April). Sale results for the bred ewe lambs and four performance tested rams used as service sires were as follows:

  Sale Average ($/head)
94 Bred Commercial Ewe Lambs $141
4 Performance Tested Rams $405

Ewe prices ranged from $110 to $200 per head. Rules and regulations, as well as consignment and entry information for the program in 2003-04 will be available late spring. The program is sponsored by the Virginia Sheep Producers Association. For more information, contact Scott Greiner at (540) 231-9159.

Carlton Truxell Receives Roy A. Meek Outstanding Sheep Producer Award
Carlton Truxell of Raphine, Virginia was named the recipient of the Roy A. Meek Outstanding Sheep Producer Award presented January 10, 2003 at the Virginia-North Carolina Shepherd's Symposium held in Harrisonburg, VA. This award is presented annually by the Virginia Sheep Producers Association (VSPA) to recognize an individual that has made outstanding contributions to the sheep industry in Virginia.

Truxell has been involved in the sheep industry since childhood, growing up in Augusta County and graduating from Spottswood High. In October 1974, Truxell joined the staff of the Virginia Tech Shenandoah Valley Agricultural Research and Extension Center as an Agricultural Supervisor. In 1975, the Virginia Sheep Evaluation Station was constructed at the Shenandoah Valley AREC. Since that time, Truxell has provided oversight to the numerous programs, activities, and research trials that have taken place at the Sheep Evaluation Station. Truxell's involvement in performance evaluation of livestock also included the Virginia bull and swine test programs conducted at various locations across the state.

Since its beginning in 1975, Carlton has served as manager of the Virginia Performance Ram Lamb Test. Over 1600 ram lambs have developed through the program over the years. Additionally, Truxell was responsible for the Yearling Ram Test which took place from 1975-1993, and the Commercial Ewe Lamb Development Program which was initiated in 2000. Numerous sheep research trials were also conducted at the station during this time. Through his expertise in sheep management and care, Truxell has served a large number of sheep breeders in the state. Additionally, through his interaction with the public and commercial producers, Truxell has been an ambassador for sheep performance testing and flock improvement.

Truxell has served on numerous committees to promote and advance the Virginia sheep industry, working closely with the Virginia Purebred Sheep Breeders. He has served as advisor to committees for the ram test, commercial ewe lamb program and Eastern Stud Ram Sale. Carlton has also been involved in various other activities of the Virginia Purebred Sheep Breeders and VSPA, including the annual bred ewe sale.

Carlton, his wife Becky, and sons Timothy and Jimmy maintained a small commercial flock in Augusta County. Their flock utilized performance tested rams acquired through the Ram Test program.

This past October, Truxell retired after 27 years of service at the Shenandoah Valley AREC. VSPA is proud to honor Carlton Truxell with the Outstanding Sheep Producer Award for the hard work, dedication, and service he has contributed for the advancement of the sheep industry in the state of Virginia.

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