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Old 06-23-2009, 07:35 PM
 
Location: Oklahoma(formerly SoCalif) Originally Mich,
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Does Corperate farming effect you in any way?
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Old 06-24-2009, 06:04 AM
 
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Originally Posted by mkfarnam View Post
Does Corperate farming effect you in any way?
Not really, but it depends how you define it. The family dairy farm may be considered a corporate farm but it sure doesn't feel like it. It's more of a big family having a big farm in order to pay all the family help that wants to continue to farm. In a perfect world it would be bigger and I could farm on it full-time, but atlas we are not big enough yet so I just fill-in when they need me too. Luckily between my sheep farm, and my dairy farm I have enough income to get by. Get by being the key word.

As for competition...the answer is really no. On the dairy farm our milk is so regulated that the price is set for us. Some corporations want to invade New England with their milk, but current law/policy keeps them from doing that most of the time. Our biggest issue is keeping the policy's we have, in place. That's all, but it does take time making sure we are always prsent to keep things as is.

For the sheep...50% of the lamb is imported in this country to keep up with demand. Direct sales are so strong that it is a non-issue. The Eat Local movement is pretty strong, lamb prices in the store are high, so not only can I compete with grocery stores, I can sell lamb at cheaper prices then they do, and have higher quality (grass fed/naturally raised/etc). I can get rid of every lamb that is born here...the real issue is building my flock in a timely manner to keep up with demand!

I am trying to build my flock from within...no loans so I can keep what money I make and not pay it back in interest. Loans are cheap right now but I see inflation as being an issue a year from now. This is an old farm and it has very low overhead. It is so tempting to go and loan out and put 1200 head here, but I am trying to resist that temptation and grow slow and just get by. It is hard when you see others with more, but ultimately being poor and farming seems to allow me to be more content then to have money and never be home. I did that in my railroad days and I have no interest in doing that again.

Hopefully I answered your question with my ramblings.
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Old 06-24-2009, 07:59 AM
 
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what is it with the lamb price in grocery store, it is a lot higher then beef, is it cost more to raise sheep than cows or because it is an import item.
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Old 06-24-2009, 08:45 AM
 
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I certainly am not as knowledgeable about sheep as BT, so I hope he comments on your question .

Here is my opinion as to why that is.

weight-------A ewe maybe gives you 2 lambs per year and if they are slaughtered at about 100 lbs, that is 200 lbs of lamb coming to market every year.

A beef cow gives you one calf per year which when slaughtered at a little over 1 year of age will send about a 1200 lbs of steer/heifer to market each year.

Pigs have multiple litters each year and each litter consists of about 10 pigs, thus there are about 20 market hogs at 250 ponds hitting the market each year.

Sheep face the "double whammy" of only producing 2 lambs per year and low slaughter weight thus the price per pound will be higher.
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Old 06-24-2009, 05:19 PM
 
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Originally Posted by wabanaki View Post
what is it with the lamb price in grocery store, it is a lot higher then beef, is it cost more to raise sheep than cows or because it is an import item.
Grocery store price here in Maine is around $14 bucks a pound, but only one chain carries it and even then it is limited. That is mostly because Lamb is a high end meat. To some degree the ethnic people entering this country have a higher percentage of lamb in their diets, so they are pushing up the price...or in this recession...at least keeping it even.

As for growing it...it has the lowest fuel consumption cost per pound of the red meats and you can get more weight per acre then you can with beef. That is because here 1 cow requires 1 acre of pasture per year, where as sheep you can get 8 per the acre. That is a significant difference. Weight gain is all over the place depending on the breed, from a low of 1/2 pound per day to a high of 3 pounds per day.

One of the better things about lambs though, is that they can be born in winter, and 200 days later they are at the ideal weight to be slaughtered. That means unlike a beef calf that must be wintered over and fed feed to reach that 1200 pound weight, a lamb reaches the ideal 130 pound carcass weight in 200 days or less. The live weight to hanging weight has a little better ratio then beef too.

But there is some bad points. I feel the biggest is the passage of time. Once a lamb goes over the 14 month threshold, it is no longer lamb but mutton and the market for that is nil. You go from a 130 dollar wholesale animal to a 25 dollar wholesale animal. With beef, no matter what age it is, you get the same price. That means you got to stay on top of your operation and bring as much young lambs to market, because culling the older ewes is a break even deal at best.

All in all, sheep works better for me fiscally...and that is even factoring in that I can get an almost limitless supply of beef calf steers from the dairy farm if I wished. Some of it is preference, but a lot of it is just sheer profit. I have always made money with my sheep...even the first year I got into them which is pretty amazing as most farms don't make money their first year.
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Old 06-24-2009, 06:55 PM
 
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---" With beef, no matter what age it is, you get the same price"--

not true

There is a big difference in price between an old cow and a young heifer that grades choice.

In fact, after reaching an age of over about 2 years, the grader will not grade an animal carcass cuz he detects the white bone visible fron the split carcass is gone and it is now "hard boned" thus too old to be eligible for grading.

( I worked 19 years in a packing plant , working in the second cooler where carcases were graded and shipped out according to grade)
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Old 06-25-2009, 11:30 AM
 
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i noticed meat grades as Prime, choice and select. How can i tell grades choice is on Old cow or young cow or they just not grade meat on cow over 2 years at all.


Quote:
Originally Posted by marmac View Post
--
There is a big difference in price between an old cow and a young heifer that grades choice.

In fact, after reaching an age of over about 2 years, the grader will not grade an animal carcass cuz he detects the white bone visible fron the split carcass is gone and it is now "hard boned" thus too old to be eligible for grading.

( I worked 19 years in a packing plant , working in the second cooler where carcases were graded and shipped out according to grade)
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Old 06-25-2009, 03:40 PM
 
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an older animal will not get graded.

The USDA grader even carries a smakk pocket knife that he checks the hardness of the bone if he suspects the carcass is from an older heifer/cow.

I would think you can be assured that anything USDA graded is from a younger animal and thus more tender.

Steakhouses don't buy their steaks that came from older animals either.
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Old 06-25-2009, 08:25 PM
 
Location: Oklahoma(formerly SoCalif) Originally Mich,
13,387 posts, read 16,962,646 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marmac View Post
an older animal will not get graded.

The USDA grader even carries a smakk pocket knife that he checks the hardness of the bone if he suspects the carcass is from an older heifer/cow.

I would think you can be assured that anything USDA graded is from a younger animal and thus more tender.

Steakhouses don't buy their steaks that came from older animals either.
Then I lost my grades many years ago
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Old 06-26-2009, 09:02 AM
 
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When a farmer ships a cow to a sales barn or to a packingplant, that cow ----regardless the condition--will end up as boned out hamburger meat.
( not T-bone and porterhouse steaks like many city slickers presume) cuz of age = tenderness

If Broken Tap sold an older ewe, I doubt the meat would end up as lamb chops or leg-of-lamb.

Same thing with cattle .
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