Livestock Update, February 2008
Dr. Scott P. Greiner, Ph.D., Extension Animal Scientist, VA Tech
The 8th 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 12. A total of 65 bred commercial ewe lambs sold for an average price of $179 per head. High selling lot was three Katahdin ewe lambs consigned by OW Farm of Nickelsville, VA which sold for $240 per head. 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 $140 to $240 per head. The three service sire rams also sold, averaging $302.
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 ram lambs, which were selected from the 2007 Virginia Performance Ram Lamb Test. In late December, pregnancy diagnosis was conducted via ultrasound.
Rules and regulations, as well as consignment and entry information for the program in 2008-09 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.