This week I’m gonna get back to practical, profitable things in production agriculture. How about this? While the rest of agriculture is worrying about global trade relationships, unpredictable market prices, supply chain disruptions, global warming, global politics, and sundry other economic maladies, one segment of U.S. food producers is experiencing unprecedented profits from pretty steady high prices.
Those happy food producers are the owners of sheep and goats. For the market skeptics, here’s a May market price report on sheep and goats that I uncovered on Google: Wool lambs: 40-70 lbs, $255-$350/cwt; 70 lbs & up, $245-$300/cwt. Hair lambs: 20-40 lbs, $240-$350/cwt; 40-70 lbs, $245-$360/cwt; 70 lbs and up, $170-$360/cwt. Wool ewes: Slaughter, $72-$135/cwt. Hair Ewes: Replacements, $225-$300/hd; Hair Rams: $140-$200/cwt.
Now the meat goat market: Kid Goats: 20-40 lbs, $200-$474/cwt; 40-70 lbs, $300-$510/cwt; 70 lbs & up, $220-$440cwt. Wethers: 60-100 lbs, $275-$320/cwt; Does: Slaughter medium-fleshy: $140-$350/hd; Replacements: $225-$400/head.
Those are pretty nice prices, right? The reasons for the high sheep/goat prices are low overall numbers, and a growing demand from folks who love to eat, and grew up eating, goat and lamb.
And, for folks paying attention, sheep and goats — mainly goats, more than sheep — are more and more being successfully integrated into multi-species grazing programs — mostly with cattle.
Why, you ask? Because goats and sheep graze differently from cattle. While cattle prefer a variety of grasses, goats and sheep prefer woody species like tree leaves, poison ivy leaves, invasive serecia lespedeza, kudzu, all sorts of weeds and forbs. So, pastures with multi-species grazing yields more meat production overall from the land, improves the mix of forage plants, and improves soil fertility — and, most important, fattens the bottom line of the meat-producing enterprise.
Now, you may have been thinking that all the above material is being provided by me purely for altruistic reasons. Nada! I’ve got a selfish reason for pushing the national inventory of sheep and goats. Profit! After all, I’m a capitalist.
As our President likes to say, “Here’s the deal.” Putting more sheep and goats into more and more of the nation’s pastures, post-harvest crop lands, and public grazing lands is like providing a new and easy smorgasbord of tasty red meat for a plethora of hungry predators — coyotes, foxes, bobcats, eagles, mountain lions, wolves, bears, etc.
These predators do what predators do — they kill and eat as many sheep and goats as they need to keep from being hungry — and to amply feed their young ‘uns, too. And as any livestock producer knows, a sheep or goat lost to a predator goes straight 100% into the loss column on the enterprise ledger sheet.
So, what is the answer to the predation problem? Well, some folks go to great expense for predator-deterring fencing. Others buy and maintain expensive guard dogs, llamas, and donkeys that live with the flocks and ward off predators. Others try Border Collies to bring their flocks at night into lighted pens near the farmstead or ranch headquarters.
All that stuff is well and good — but it’s all expensive, and its well known that all those predators preventatives are far from perfect. The killing still goes on.
Well, once again, here comes Milo Yield to the rescue. Folks, it’s pretty obvious that a predator will not kill and eat a sheep or goat that it can not see. That’s why I invented LAMB-O-FLAGE — my trademarked product for protecting sheep and goats from predators by making them virtually invisible.
A producer just needs to outfit every animal with the lightweight Lamb-o-flage, which is made of inexpensive recycled materials. And, most important, Lamb-o-flage comes in three distinctive pattern to cover all possible pasture scenarios — there’s woodland, and cropland, and junk yard — for folks using sheep and goats to keep the vegetation down around the house and homestead buildings (all three pictured).
So, I’m expecting a big improvement to my bottom-line after millions of lamb-o-flages sell.
Crop Land Wood Land Junk Yard
Words of wisdom for the week: “As I watch this new ‘woke’ generation try to rewrite our history on their smart phones, one thing I’m pretty sure of … it will be misspelled and have no punctuation.” Have a good ‘un.