Friday, July 08, 2016

Lamb crop....

Bringing ewes and lambs in to the sheep corrals.

We made the decision to sell the lamb crop early this year.  Normally, we sell them in late August, but this year with the lack of water and grass, and because the lambs appeared to be so big and heavy, we decided to sell.  We sorted the lambs off the ewes and then sorted the wethers from the ewe lambs.   The last sort was for our replacement ewe lambs.  We always keep back about 50 ewe lambs or so to replace any cull ewes that we will remove from the herd in the fall.  This year we sorted off 55 ewe lambs to keep in the herd.  They're sure pretty ewes.

We loaded up 198 lambs to take to the Sheep Yards on Wednesday and yesterday they sold.  They were at the top of the market for weight and price.  The average weight was 110 lbs. which is really good for this time of year (or any time of year).  We think that the reason they gained so well is because we let them in on the alfalfa field early in the spring to graze and now that the prairie grass is dry and hard, it is high in protein and nutrients.  Out here they call our kind of grass "hard grass" because it's very dense, nutritious feed, even if it's dried out.  This is truly good sheep country.

We got our reservoir water samples back yesterday.  All the water except one reservoir were good or acceptable for livestock.  The sons fenced out the one bad reservoir with electric fence to keep the cattle out of it while they are in that pasture.  Otherwise, we're doing OK.  The one big reservoir that we water lots of livestock and our yards and gardens from is pretty high in TDS (total dissolved solids) but still acceptable.  I'm thinking this is one reason my garden is not doing so great.  It's the only water I use on it and we haven't gotten any rain so the water is pretty high in sodium which isn't great for growing plants.  So my new strategy is to keep a wash tub in my kitchen sink and catch all the water to pour over the garden plants.  At least our drinking/washing water is really good so it might maybe hopefully help!  I also have a theory that raised bed gardening might not be the best thing in our arid country.  It seems that the beds dry out so much faster than my ground beds do.  I might have to make some changes in my gardening beds this fall.

The thing about crops is that there are so many variables in nature that you can't always count on a "good crop" every single year.  This year the lamb crop was amazing.  The hay crop was minimal due to lack of rain and lots of heat.  The calf crop is looking good so far.  We'll see how they look by weaning time.  The veggie gardens production is yet to be seen.  There is hope, but I don't think it'll be a great garden year unless we get rain.  There's still time, so we do what we can do and wait to see  how it all shakes out.

The farmer/rancher is the only man in our economy who buys everything at retail, sells everything at wholesale, and pays the freight both ways.  ~John F. Kennedy


  1. It seems like you guys make very good decisions on your ranch. I always love the sheep. Beautiful!

  2. Glad you sold all your lambs. Hope you get some good rain and that your cattle will do well, too.

  3. Yay for the lambies that you're keeping! It's fun to see them all!

  4. You're quite right that raised beds drain much faster and need lots of watering. They have their advantages, but that's a disadvantage for sure where you are. So glad your lamb crop was excellent this year! That's an encouragement. Don't they call washing water "gray water"? I think many people have traditionally used that for their gardens quite well.

  5. How wonderful you sold at the top of the market! Your sheep do look wonderful.


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