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As markets fill, prices drop

The latest sheep and goat sale at Winnipeg Livestock Sales saw buyers as the clearcut winners

Some say November is the end of autumn, others, the start of winter. Either way the Nov. 1 sheep and goat sale at Winnipeg Livestock Sales coincided with the arrival of snow.

It also featured a low-key and subdued tone with markets filling and animal quality average rather than exceptional. Producers could be reducing herds, given the time of year, and engaging in a general cleanup of their flocks and herds.

During the sheep sale, wool ewes dominated, but were not of top quality or even well maintained. Many were matted with burrs and struggled to even find and keep low bidding. The quality animals that were on offer were rewarded with better prices. A group of seven 157-pound Suffolk-cross ewes with good quality and structure fetched $1.25/lb. Overall there was less bidding than at the last sale.

Ram selection was limited, but despite this there was less buyer interest, allowing buyers to be more picky. The best example of this was a group of Suffolk-cross lambs and a Rideau-cross lamb with an average weight of 188 lbs. that brought $216.20 ($1.15/lb.). Meanwhile two Cheviot-cross rams and a Dorset-cross ram at 172 pounds brought $163.40 ($0.95/lb.). A 95-pound Katahdin-cross ram brought $103.12 ($1.075/lb.).

Lambs also saw selective bidding from buyers. Two 120-pound Rideau-cross lambs brought $192 ($1.60/lb.), yet a group of three 120-pound lambs later brought $163.20 ($1.36/lb.). A group of seven 111-pound lambs brought $1.66/lb.

Market lambs held in a price range from $1.67-$1.74/lb. The presence of burrs clearly showed a negative effect on price, with a winning bid of $1.44/lb. Exotic breeds were of little interest to buyers. Two 95-pound Icelandic-cross lambs brought $1.02/lb.

Feeder lambs saw slightly more buyer interest and more bidding activity. There appeared to be no price differences between wool and hair lambs. The average price ranged from $1.69 to $1.80/lb. An exception was a group of five 80-pound Dorset-cross lambs bringing $1.86/lb.

Lightweight lambs had the buyers in a selective mood once again. Four 74-pound Dorper-cross lambs brought $1.47/lb. A 70-pound Cheviot-cross lamb brought $1.61 per pound. A group of sixteen 77-pound lambs brought $1.98/lb.

A 60-pound Dorper-cross lamb brought $1.71/lb. A 65-pound Dorset-cross lamb brought $1.82/lb.

A 40-pound Dorset-cross lamb brought $2.10/lb.

In the goat sale, Alpine-cross does were the feature of the dairy side of the doe class, though many of the animals still required fattening. The thin appearance of an 85-pound Alpine-cross goat doe resulted in a price of just $0.91/lb., while an 85-pound Boer-cross goat doe brought $1.77/lb. The seasonal markets are filling so the visual appearance of the animals is showing more in the bidding.

There was also a large contingent of goat bucks at the sale, the result of herd management. The heavier Alpine-cross goat bucks were slightly lower in price when compared to the Boer-cross goat bucks. A 165-pound Toggenburg goat buck brought $0.59/lb. An 80-pound Pygmy goat-cross buck brought $0.78/lb.

Relative to some recent sales, buyers had an excellent selection of goats to choose from, including goat kids. This predictably resulted in lower bidding this sale. Sellers were disappointed to see this, knowing that growing demand towards the holiday season will likely result in higher prices at the next few sales.

There were quality Boer-cross goat doelings at this sale for any farmer starting to add to the herd.

The 60-plus-pound goat kids attempted to continue the strong bidding, as past sales. However, the bids fell short. The average price ranged from $1.98-$2/lb. The September 20, 2017 sale recorded a price range from $2.33-$2.68/lb. for meat and dairy goat kids in the weight class.

The 50-plus-pound goat kids could not maintain the prices seen at the last sale. The average prices ranged from $1.37-$1.67/lb., compared to an average price last sale of $2.15/lb. for goat kids.

The 40-plus-pound goat kids reflected the buyers’ choice nature of this sale in the bidding. Two different groups of Alpine-cross goat kids at 45 pounds brought $0.94 and $1.67/lb. Four 40-pound Boer-cross goat kid wethers brought $1.44/lb. and a group of 47-pound goat kids brought $1.44/lb. Six 40-pound Pygmy-cross goat kids brought $0.65/lb. Last sale, the goat kids ranged from $1.69-$2.52/lb. in this weight class.

Three 37-pound Boer-cross goat doelings brought $1/lb.

The Ontario Stockyard Report reported that all classifications saw difficulties in sales. The demand created very limited interest, so prices were much lower. Even the goats had stress and pressure on the bidding, not reaching the past sales standards.

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