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Sale Report: Virginia Commercial Ewe Lamb Development Program

Livestock Update, February 2007

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

The 7th Annual Virginia Commercial Ewe Lamb Development Program concluded with a sale held in conjunction with the Virginia-North Carolina Shepherds’ Symposium at the Alphin-Stuart Livestock Arena on the campus of Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, VA on January 13.  A total of 68 bred commercial ewe lambs sold for a program record average price of $258 per head.  The sale was paced by a lot of three Katahdin ewe lambs consigned by Moccasin Bend Katahdins of Nickelsville, VA which sold for $550 each to David Steadman of Kingsport, TN.  Bred ewe lambs were sold in consignor groups of two to four head based on breed, service sire, and expected lambing date (ranging from early March to mid April).  Prices ranged from $160 to $550 per head.  Two service sire rams also sold, averaging $475.

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.  In early September, crossbred ewe lambs were delivered to the Virginia Sheep Evaluation Station located at the Virginia Tech Shenandoah Valley Agriculture Research and Extension Center near Steeles Tavern.  Ewe lambs were developed on forage with supplemental grain mix provided to optimize growth and reproductive performance during the development program and breeding season.  The ewes were mated to Suffolk, Dorset, or Katahdin x Dorper ram lambs, which were selected from the 2006 Virginia Performance Ram Lamb Test.  In late December, pregnancy diagnosis was conducted via ultrasound.  Of the 77 ewe lambs exposed, 68 were confirmed pregnant and qualified for the sale.  Total costs for the program averaged $56 per ewe lamb (includes feed, vet/medical, breeding, sale, and all other expenses).

Rules and regulations, as well as consignment and entry information for the program in 2007 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.

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