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Sheep Update

Livestock Update, October 2004

Scott Greiner, Extension Animal Scientist, Sheep, VA Tech

Virginia Fall Bred Ewe Sale is October 30
The 2004 Virginia Sheep Producer's Association Fall Bred Ewe Sale will be held Saturday, October 30, 1:00 PM at the Rockingham County Fairgrounds in Harrisonburg. Yearling ewes and ewe lambs, along with mature ewes will be sold. All yearling and mature ewes will be sold as guaranteed pregnant. Breeds offered will include Suffolk, Hampshire, Dorset, and crossbreds including wether dams. For a sale catalog or more information contact Corey Childs at 540-955-4633.

Virginia Performance Tested Ram Lamb Sale Results 2004
The 29th Annual Virginia Performance Tested Ram Lamb Sale was held at the Virginia Sheep Evaluation Station near Steeles Tavern on Saturday, August 28. A total of 45 rams sold for a record average price of $415. Top-selling ram was a fall Dorset consigned by Virginia Tech which sold for $760. Sponaugle Suffolks of Grottoes, VA sold a Suffolk ram for $675 to top the Suffolk breed. Rams sold to buyers in Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, and West Virginia. Sale results by breed were as follows:

  Sale Average
7 Fall Dorsets $504
7 Winter Dorsets $397
5 Hampshires $314
26 Winter Suffolks $415
45 Total Rams $415

The Virginia Ram Lamb Performance Test is sponsored by the Virginia Sheep Producer's Association. Information on the 2005 test and sale may be attained from Scott Greiner, Extension Sheep Specialist, Virginia Tech, phone 540-231-9163 or email

2004-05 Virginia Commercial Ewe Lamb Development Program Underway
The Virginia commercial ewe lamb development and marketing program recently began its fifth year. The purpose of the program is to provide a source of quality replacement ewes with documented health, management, and genetics for Virginia commercial flocks. The program is being conducted at the Virginia Sheep Evaluation Station, located at the Virginia Tech Shenandoah Valley Agriculture Research and Extension Center located near Steeles Tavern. A total of 81 commercial crossbred ewe lambs (born January through April, 2004) were delivered to the station on September 14. Ewe lambs are being developed on grass with supplemental grain mix provided to optimize growth and reproductive performance during the development program. Ewes have been allocated to breeding groups based on age, weight, and breed. Ewes will be mated to purebred rams, which have all been evaluated on the 2004 Virginia Performance Ram Lamb Test. Three Suffolk and one fall Dorset ram will be utilized as service sires, with approximately the same number of ewes mated to each ram breed. 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 in late December via ultrasound. Ewes will be sold in conjunction with the annual VA-NC Shepherd's Symposium on Saturday, January 8, 2005 at the Alphin-Stuart Livestock Arena on the campus of Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, VA. Bred ewes will be sold in groups of 2-5 head, based on genetics and expected lambing date. For more information, contact Scott Greiner at 540-231-9163.

Proposed Rule Published on Ewe Lamb Retention Program
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Farm Service Agency (FSA) has published the proposed rules for the 2004 $18 million Ewe Lamb Replacement and Retention Payment Program in the Federal Register. The purpose of the program is to provide benefits to sheep and lamb operations in an effort to strengthen the industry and increase the size of the breeding flock in the United States.

The base period for eligibility of the program is from Aug. 1, 2003 through July 31, 2004. The guidelines for the 2004 program will be the same as those of the previous program.

Regulations allow for a 30-day comment period on the rule with an additional 30-day window for comments pertaining to the information being requested from producers in the application process. Comments must be received on or before October 7, 2004. Information collection comments must be received on or before November 8, 2004.

To review the proposed rule visit

-from ASI

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