Chinese wool demand unlikely to help Canada

The Chinese government is making new uniforms for its military and government workers, but those garments won’t contain much Canadian wool. However, such large quantities of wool needed for this project could affect other parts of the wool market, said Canadian Co-operative Wool Growers general manager Eric Bjergso. “Unfortunately, our fine wool production is such […] Read more

Better care needed as fertility rates rise

More is not better if lamb mortality increases with higher birth rates, says Saskatchewan veterinarian

As fertility rates rise for lambs and kids, so does the need for better management practices in keeping them alive. However, therein lie the issues, said Dr. Fritz Schumann of the University of Saskatchewan’s Western College of Veterinary Medicine. “Even if fertility rates are high, there must be a point where physiologically the lambs can’t […] Read more

‘Range maggots’ to the rescue on ranch pasture

LUNDBRECK, Alta. — Cattle ranchers traditionally aren’t keen on sheep but the “range maggots” they sometimes disparage have brought a major weed problem to heel on southern Alberta’s Waldron Ranch. Several years ago, leafy spurge flourished on parts of the ranch, turning the prairie greenish-yellow with its blossoms and foliage. Leafy spurge chokes out native […] Read more

Sheep producers happy with average results at ram sale

FORT MACLEOD, Alta. — Organizers of the annual Pound Maker ram sale in southern Alberta may have to change the name of the event to the Rain Maker ram sale. It rains almost every year on the day of the sale, and on May 19, the rain was particularly welcome as the first measurable precipitation […] Read more

Couple eager to return biblical sheep home

Israeli producers living near Abbotsford, B.C., say Jacob sheep should be the national animal of the Jewish people

TORONTO (Reuters) — A breed of sheep believed to have been raised by the Jewish patriarch Jacob may soon be brought to Israel, its biblical homeland, after an Israeli couple gathered a herd in Canada and brokered a bureaucratic detente to import the animals. Jenna and Gil Lewinsky’s efforts to send 130 sheep to the […] Read more

Genetic improvements have lasting legacy

Breeding sheep with greater disease resistance instead of treating symptoms could benefit animal welfare, food supply

RED DEER — Understanding sheep DNA could result in healthier, stronger animals. “Genetics have a lot of advantages over our traditional approaches. Unlike changes in management, genetics are permanent and cumulative,” said Susan Schoenian, a sheep and goat specialist from the University of Maryland. Breeding animals with greater disease resistance instead of treating symptoms with […] Read more

Lamb sector profits attract some cattle producers

While Canadian lamb producers are making money at current prices, feedlot owners’ margins are ‘tight and small’

It’s a great time to be a lamb producer. Prices keep getting stronger, supply is never enough and the strong U.S. dollar keeps American buyers looking north for bargains. “Prices are wonderful, but last year was also a good year for prices,” said Alberta lamb producer Bill Gibson of Tees, Alta. Prices for 80 to […] Read more

Sheep sharing leaves shepherds blue

Tara MacLachlan and Kirstin Tittemore have the blues. And those blues are believed to be the first purebred Bluefaced Leicester sheep flock in Saskatchewan. The women, one from Eyebrow and one from Central Butte, bought the flock several weeks ago from Rory and Jody McLean of Valleyview, Alta., and relocated it to the Saskatchewan plains. […] Read more

Producers have market options

Finding opportunities | Sheep producers can make direct sales, but it isn’t always easy

NISKU, Alta. — Lamb producers don’t often get into business because they love marketing, but it’s one of the most important parts of their farming operation. To help lamb producers make the right marketing decisions, the Alberta Lamb Producers brought together four different marketing specialists at a Sept. 6 event in Nisku. “It may be […] Read more

Genomic breeding in sheep a tedious task

VANCOUVER — The dairy world has made astronomical gains in using genomics to improve breeding lines, but the sheep sector is different with its numerous breeds and crossbreeds. “In sheep, the existing data that we have measured already is of limited value,” said Julius Van der Werf of Sheep Industry Innovation in Armidale, Australia. Rapid […] Read more