The 2011 Purdue Lambing School will focus on topics associated with critical production phases of late gestation, lactation and newborn care for both sheep and goat producers.
IN WINDERMERE, ENGLAND The rolling hills of the English Lake District, home to the stories of Peter Rabbit and endless acres of misty farms, seem the last place on Earth for a crime wave. But farmer, beware: Thieves are stalking the puffy white gold of the British countryside.
Lamb prices set a record high in 2010, which is welcome news for producers after the last several years of depressed prices. The last record high year for slaughter-lamb prices was 2005. The 2010 prices exceeded that old record by more than 15 percent. Slaughter-lamb prices were 25 percent higher than the depressed prices of 2009, and feeder-lamb prices were 33 percent higher.
For well over one hundred years goats have been used to manage unwanted vegetation in the United States. The role of goats in vegetation management is expected to expand dramatically in the near future due to a combination of factors including: environmental degradation created by past systems of farming; reduced efforts to control unwanted vegetation that have increased its spread and growth; the increasing expense of mechanical methods of vegetation control, most of which rely on the use of fossil fuel-driven machinery; and the increasing reluctance and moral unacceptability of the use of herbicides due to pollution hazards and potential long-term harm to the environment.
Goats are very active foragers, able to cover a wide area in search of scarce plant materials. Their small mouth, narrow muzzle and split upper lips enable them to pick small leaves, flowers, fruits and other plant parts, thus choosing only the most nutritious available feed. As natural browsers, given the opportunity, goats will select over 60 percent of their daily diet from brush and woody perennials (multiflora rose, saplings, small deciduous trees, black locust, briars, brambles, sumac, privet, honeysuckle), and broadleaf plants (pigweed, dock, horseweed, plantain, lambsquarter) over herbaceous species such as fescue, bluegrass, orchardgrass, crabgrass or bermudagrass. The ability to utilize browse species, which often have thorns and an upright growth habit with small leaves tucked among woody stems, is a unique characteristic of the goat, compared to heavier, less agile ruminants.
GREAT FALLS, Mont. – For Anne and Tom Key, lambing season is just beginning at their Montana Aerie Ranch in central Montana. The end of December brought three surprise lambs to their ranch from the group of sheep they bought but they are hoping they are finished with the surprises and can move into the routine.
A sheep enterprise can be ranch size or it can fit into a few acres. It can be a full-time occupation, but it also is well suited for diversified and part-time farmers, or it can be expertly handled by the spouse or younger members of the farm family.