Easter lamb trade affects April 2 sheep and goat sale

New-crop lamb prices have not returned to levels of two or three years ago

The Winnipeg Livestock Auction received 700 sheep and goats for the April 2 sale. There appeared to be a decrease in the expected Easter lamb prices.

The strong bidding was on the younger and well-developed quality ewes. The cull ewes were clearly identified by the lower bids. There appeared to be no differences between the wool and hair ewes. There was a ewe with a lamb unit sold for $135.

There was a limited selection of rams at this sale. The weight ranged from 178 to 215 lbs., with a price range from $0.75 to $0.82 per lb. An exception was a 285-lb. Suffolk-cross ram which brought $151.05 ($0.52 per lb.).

There were no heavyweight lambs delivered.

Bidding was slightly lower on the market lambs compared to the last sale. There appeared to be no differences between the wool and hair lambs in the bids. The weight ranged from 95 to 105 lbs., with a price ranging from $1.30 to $1.54 per lb. An exception was on the quality of three 105-lb. lambs which brought $97.65 ($0.93 per lb.).

Feeder lambs continued the bidding pattern, slightly lower than the last sale. The weight ranged from 80 to 90 lbs., with a price ranging from $1.44 to $1.60 per lb. An exception was an 80-lb. Rideau-cross lamb which brought $66 ($0.825 per lb.).

Lightweight lambs were less desired by the buyers at this sale. With Easter approaching, heavier lambs were more in demand. Twenty-four Suffolk-cross lambs brought $114.33 ($1.545 per lb.). Sixteen 76-lb. possibly Wiltshire horned lambs (a small hair-framed lamb) brought $54.29 ($1.40 per lb.). Buyers were not as interested in the exotic lamb; a 70-lb. Jacob-cross lamb brought $75.25 ($1.075 per lb.).

A group of 10, 69-lb. lambs brought $97.98 ($1.42 lb.). A group of 11, 64-lb. lambs brought $93.44 ($1.46 per lb.). Four 64-lb. Wiltshire-cross lambs brought $64 ($1 per lb.).

Two 58-lb. Suffolk-cross lambs brought $80.04 ($1.38 per lb.).

BSE is possibly still showing its effects, as the new-crop lambs have not reached the high prices of two or three years ago. Those prices might remain as memories. Some 75-lb. lambs brought $1.80 per lb. Lambs in the weight range of 55 to 57 lbs. brought a price ranging from $1.50 to $1.96 per lb. The 48-lb. lambs brought $1.65 per lb. The 35-lb. lambs brought $1.525 per lb. Even the 20-lb. bottle-feeding-type lambs brought $1.35 per lb.

The supply of goats produced an excellent selection in all categories. The bidding seemed to separate the goat does into a high-quality group and then the culls (based upon various characteristics). Quality of the goat does brought the serious bids. The meat goat does that were of light weight produced the higher bidding while heavier does received lower prices. The dairy goat does continued this pattern, as indicated by the bidding. The weight ranges separated the dairy doe culls. The heavier does were of less interest for this sale. A Pygmy-cross doe brought $78 ($1.73 per lb.).

The goat bucks continued the weight difference pattern by the buyers. The meat goat bucks in the weight range of 155 to 200 lbs. brought a price range from $1.29 to $1.45 per lb. The lightweight meat bucks brought a price from $1.66 to $2.13 per lb. There was a limited selection in the dairy goat bucks. A 75-lb. Pygmy-cross buck brought $0.83 per lb.

The meat (goat) kids showed a slightly higher price range than the dairy (goat) kids, in each weight range. However, the differences appeared based upon the purpose of the breed. Quality of the goat kids attracted the constant bidding action. Even for the smaller goat kids that illustrated some physical disabilities, the buyers reduced the purchasing power. Since the supply was available, all buyers took advantage of the situation, possibly for Easter season sales and future sales.

Near the conclusion of the auction, the audience was entertained by the selling of three 257-lb. llamas.

The Ontario Stockyard Report reported that most lamb categories sold under pressure, lower than the last sale. Only the well-finished light lambs sold at a strong price. Goat kids sold at a steady price, but other goats were lower.

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