Sheep & Goat Specialist
University of Maryland Extension
Dr. Jay Parsons, Department of Agricultural Economics
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
The Sheep Roadmap Project identified productivity improvement as one of the US Sheep Industry’s priorities for survival and expansion. Percent lamb crop has always been the most important factor affecting profitability of a sheep enterprise, yet the national average is little more than one lamb per ewe exposed. It must be the goal of every sheep producer to maximize percent lamb crop, relative to his/her resource base. Deciding which ewe lambs to keep as replacements will have a major effect on achieving this goal. If ewe replacements aren’t genetically superior to the ewes they are replacing, genetic progress will be stalled. Equally important is deciding which ewes to cull from the flock. Underperforming ewes cost money, while adding little or no profit to the bottom line. Selection and culling decisions are guided by many factors and will affect the profitability of the flock for years to come. Sound, productive ewes are the foundation of a successful sheep farm. It’s the ewes that make you money!