2018 was a real mix of highs and lows, many producers capitalized on very good lamb prices. For some there were anxious times trying to secure adequate feed supply for their flock and in some cases it became necessary to reduce flock size to match feed supply. This is disappointing news since our goal is to increase lamb production in Saskatchewan. As the old saying goes in farming, maybe next year. Just a word of caution; if you’re using alternative feed stuffs, I encourage feed testing and the help of a nutritionist to ensure the animal’s nutritional requirements are being met. Proper nutrition is very important for healthy lambs and reduction of lambing issues.
The sheep industry has seen good prices and steady demand for lambs the last few years. However, during the last quarter of 2018 the industry experienced a steep decrease in demand and price. There are several contributing factors to the prices decrease. Well above average prices earlier in 2018 resulted in a price ceiling hit, the result is often a softening in demand and a price correction. Consumers are willing to pay more for Canadian lamb but when the price spread becomes too great, they will choose a more economical imported product. Buyers and feedlot operators have not been able to move the normal volume of lambs into the traditional Christmas market, resulting in a current oversupply of heavy lambs. There is change going on in the industry production and marketing landscape, change means adjustment creating some uncertainty for a time. The inability to access the US market has also eliminated an option to relieve the supply pressures, the border issue needs to be resolved. I’ve been asked many times what future prices will look like, I can’t say with certainty, but there are several positive indicators. Sheep inventories are shrinking in many parts of the world and lamb consumption continues to increase. In Canada increased consumption is driven by an increasing immigrant population and the consumer’s desire for a new dining experience and Canadian lamb. This all points to a positive future for the Canadian lamb industry.
The SSDB 2014-19 Strategic Plan and Plan for Growth 2020 have influenced the SSDB activity focus for the past number of years. It is now time to renew the strategic plan for the SSDB and the Saskatchewan sheep industry. In January 2019 we will begin the process of developing a five-year strategic plan. Ken Ludwig of Short Creek Consulting will be assisting the SSDB in developing the new SSDB Strategic Plan thanks to financial assistance from the Canadian Agriculture Partnership/ADOPT Program. A producer member survey will be launched in January to assist us in developing the plan, producers have great insights and your input is very helpful, please take the time to complete the survey.
As of December 1, 2018, livestock producers need a veterinary prescription to access medically important antimicrobials. These antimicrobials will no longer be sold at authorized medicine sales outlets (e.g. farm supply stores). Producers are only able to access them through veterinary clinics, pharmacies or mixes in feed from commercial feed mills. A veterinary-client-patient relationships (VCPR) is required to prescribe antimicrobials and dispense medications.
The national Wool Certificate of Merit recipients for 2017 were announced, I would like to congratulate the following Saskatchewan producers and shearers; Heidi Clarke – Willow Island Farm Saskatoon, Shearers Bill & Heidi Clarke - Bonny & Norman Lee Pangman, Shearer Cliff Metheral - Dale & Dawn Montgomery Maple Creek, Shearer Cliff Metheral and Richard & Wanda Perrault Val Marie, Shearers Lorrie Reed & Crew
Each year the Saskatchewan Sheep Development Board is required to submit a written year-end report together with the Audited Financial Statement to the Saskatchewan Agri-Food Council. The Agri-Food Council is the SSDB regulating body that we report to and are given the authority to operate as we do. The report to the Council contains much of the same information presented to membership at the AGM. I have included as part of my Executive Directors Report a summary of the report sent to Council. Audited financial statements are posted on the Member Page. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me at 306-933-5582 or email email@example.com.
All the best in 2019 and I again look forward to serving you, the Saskatchewan sheep producers in this upcoming year.
Thought: Together we can go further faster