February 01, 2023

From the Pastures: Name your price

Hello from Graze-N-Grow. Wouldn’t you know after all these years of January lambing we switch to an April drop and we enjoy the mildest January, so far, I can remember. Not complaining, though, since it is nice chore weather, especially when ground turns to winter’s concrete. We got a taste of what winter could be like right before Christmas, but thankfully that was short-lived.

Since we are about sold out of old crop lambs and won’t have new crop available for our regular holiday customers on June 29, they are getting nervous about lamb availability. Our last customer tried to pay me up front for his needs, but to no avail. So, if any of you flock owners who happen to have fall lambs, I think you could name your own price on any lamb 6 months old or older come June 29. If eggs can now sell for $6 a dozen due to a shortage of layers, just think what those lambs would be worth. And these folks can’t go to the store and buy those Australian lambs that are now flooding the market.

Since that lucrative holiday market gets earlier every year, it will be even more of a challenge to fill those orders without fall lambs or carrying spring lambs through the winter and selling them as yearlings. Those weighing over 100 pounds will probably be worth over $500, my guess. That could maybe pay for the high hay cost to overwinter them. There are always opportunities when filling those niche markets.

On the crop side of things here, our man, Curtis, got most of our chicken litter and mushroom compost spread after Christmas. All that’s left is 60 acres of new transitional ground he’s hoping to get to this month.

Next on my to-do list is getting the clover frost seeded. If I had an electric or hydraulic shut-off for the seeder, I would be tempted to ride in a cab for this cold job, but I imagine I will again spend a couple hours going 5 or 6 mph on the old four-wheeler. It is usually time well spent. Even though we have many winter days ahead, I’m looking forward to spring already and start the age-old process again. Are you? Happy trails.

Jim Draper

Jim Draper

Sheffield, Ill.