Making money with sheep and goats


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This presentation offers strategies for making money raising sheep and goats. It was prepared by University of Maryland Extension Sheep & Goat Specialist Susan Schoenian.

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Making money with sheep and goats

  1. 1. Making money with sheep and goats<br />Susan SchoenianSheep & Goat SpecialistWestern Maryland Research & Education CenterUniversity of Maryland<br />
  2. 2. Making money raising sheep and goats<br />Plan to be profitable.<br />Develop a production system based on your resources. <br />Start with (and keep) the right animals. <br />
  3. 3. Making money raising sheep and goats<br />Maintain strict biosecurity.<br />Manage the key factors affecting profitability<br />Apply business and scientific principles to your enterprise.<br />
  4. 4. 1) Plan to be profitable: Have a business plan.<br />A “roadmap” for your business.<br />A written document that outlines how you plan to run your business.<br />Anecdotal evidence indicates than those who prepare a business plan are 10 to 20 times more profitable than those who don’t.(Virginia Tech)<br />
  5. 5. Business planning<br />Allows you to create a business on paper and manipulate and evaluate different scenarios before risking any of your own resources.<br />Is usually required when you apply for a loan or grant.<br />Online business planning software:<br />
  6. 6. Components of a business plan<br />Mission statement.<br />Goals and objectives<br />Description of your business<br />
  7. 7. Mission statement or visionGoals and objectives<br />Why do you (want to) raise sheep or goats?<br />Define success.<br />ProfitabilityReturn on investment<br />Tax write-off<br />Quality of life<br />Landscape management<br />4-H project<br />
  8. 8. Components of a business plan<br />Resource inventory<br />Production plan<br />Marketing plan<br />Financial plan<br />
  9. 9. Resource inventory<br /><ul><li>Land</li></ul>Fencing<br />Buildings<br />Feed resources<br />LaborUnpaid family<br />Capitalhow will you finance your operation?<br />
  10. 10. Marketing plan<br />What are you going to sell?<br />Who are you going to sell it to?<br />How are you going to sell it?<br />Will it be profitable?<br />Identify your target market.<br />
  11. 11. Financial plan<br />Balance sheet<br />Income statement<br />Cash flow statement<br /><ul><li>Enterprise budget</li></ul><br />
  12. 12. Production plan: predator control<br />22.7%<br />51.7%<br /><ul><li>Livestock guardians
  13. 13. Lethal control
  14. 14. Proper fencing</li></ul>Management<br />Predators were responsible for 37% of sheep and lamb deaths in 2005.<br />
  15. 15. Perimeter fencingA good fence is your first line of defense against predators.<br />Woven/net wire<br /><ul><li>Barbed wire at ground level
  16. 16. Electric offset wires</li></ul>High-tensile, electric <br />5 to 7 wires<br />Close together near ground<br />Keep fence lines clean<br />
  17. 17. Livestock guardians<br />Guardian dogs<br />Great Pyrenees<br />Akbash<br />Maremma<br />Anatolian Shepherd<br />Komondor<br />Tibetan Mastiff<br />Polish Tatra<br />Llamas<br />Female or neutered male<br />Donkeys<br />Gelding or jenny<br />45% of U.S. sheep farms use livestock guardians.<br />
  18. 18. 2) Develop a production system based on your resources.<br />Land and feed<br />Buildings<br />Labor and skills<br />
  19. 19. 3) Start (and keep) with the RIGHT animals for your production system.<br />Select healthy, sound animals from reputable breeders.<br />Select appropriate breeds for your enterprise.<br />Don’t buy good females and skimp on the males.<br />Start small and grow the size of your operation gradually.<br />
  20. 20. Healthy, sound animals from reputable breeders<br />From disease-free herds<br />Abscesses (CL)<br />Foot rot<br />Soremouth<br />Pinkeye<br />Sound reproductive organs.<br />Teats and Udders<br />Testicles, epididymis, penis<br />Sound and solid mouths<br />Moderate body condition.<br />
  21. 21. Healthy, sound animals from reputable breeders<br />Ideally from scrapie-certified or monitored flocks.<br />Ideally from CAE-free herds and OPP-free flocks.<br />Find out history of flock/herd<br />Disease history<br />Vaccination program<br />Deworming program<br />
  22. 22. Favor performance-tested livestock<br />EPD’s (NSIP or DHIA)<br />Ram and buck tests<br />On-farm records<br />Adjusted weaning and litter weights<br />Post-weaning gain<br />Carcass or ultrasound data<br />Milk records<br />Fiber records<br />You can’t tell much by looking at an animal. <br />
  23. 23. Select appropriate breeds: ewes and does<br />Purpose: meat, milk, dairy, wethers, show<br />Adaptability<br />Type of coat or wool<br />Reproductive ability<br />Maintenance level<br />It’s the females that make you money!<br />
  24. 24. The “Holy grail”pounds of quality lamb/goat weaned<br />Early puberty<br />Prolificacy<br />Maternal ability<br />Lamb/kid survival<br />Milk production<br />Out-of-season breeding<br />It’s the females that make you money!<br />
  25. 25. Select appropriate breeds: rams and bucks<br />What’s the ram of buck’s purpose?<br />Sire market lambsWhat weight, condition?<br />Sire replacement ewe lambs<br />Sire both<br />
  26. 26. Select appropriate breeds: rams and bucks<br />Growth rate<br />Carcass merit<br />Survival<br />Fiber and dairy<br />
  27. 27. Merits of crossbreeding<br />Hybrid vigor [heterosis]: the superiority of crossbred offspring to the average performance of their parents.<br />Breed complementarity: all breeds have strengths and weaknesses.<br />
  28. 28. Crossbreeding principles<br />Mating rams and ewes of different breed compositions.<br />Does not denote indiscriminate mixing of breeds.<br />Utilizes breeds in their appropriate role.<br />Suffolk as a ram.<br />Polypay as a ewe.<br />
  29. 29. Sizing sheep for the market<br />A lamb is ready for market when it weighs approximately 2/3 of its mature size.<br />
  30. 30. 4) Maintain strict biosecurity<br />Don’t buy animals at sale barns.<br />Isolate new livestock for at least 30 days.<br />Close flock (except males) as soon as you can<br />Don’t show.<br />Most diseases walk through the gate onto your farm.<br />
  31. 31. 4) Maintain strict biosecurity<br />Don’t spread diseases via shearing and sharing of equipment.<br />Control wildlife <br />Limit visitors.<br />Preventative health management.<br />Cull problem animals.<br />Most diseases walk through the gate onto your farm.<br />
  32. 32. 5) Manage the factors affecting profitability<br />Percent quality lamb/kid crop marketed<br />Feed costs<br />Market prices<br />
  33. 33. Percent lamb/kid crop<br />Fertility<br />Litter size<br />Ovulation rate<br />Embryo survival<br />Survival<br />
  34. 34. Maximize litter size for your production environment<br />Season<br />Highest fertility in fall (spring lambing/kidding)<br />Age<br />Most productive age: 3-6<br />Nutrition<br />Body condition<br />Flushing<br />Genetics<br />Within breed<br />Between breeds<br />
  35. 35. Control feed costsFeed accounts for ~70% of total costs.<br />Feed balanced rationsSeparate animals into production groups.<br />Limit feed<br />Feed whole grain<br />Compare nutrient costs<br />Feed least-cost rations<br />Weigh feed<br /><br />
  36. 36. Control feed costsFeed accounts for ~70% of total costs.<br />Consider alternative feeds.<br />Store feed properly: invest in feed storage.<br />Minimize feed wastage: invest in good feeders.<br />Maximize your pasture resource.<br />Cull unproductive animals .<br />
  37. 37. Marketing<br />Keep ethnic holidays in mind when placing animals into marketing channels.<br />Direct, niche, and value-added marketing have the potential to increase profits.<br />Highest price does not always equate to the highest net price.<br />
  38. 38. 6) Agriculture is . . . <br />The science, art, and business of cultivating the soil, producing crops, and raising livestock.<br />
  39. 39. Farming is a business.<br />Select sheep and goats for economically important traits.<br />Feed least cost rations.<br />Use inputs to the point that they provide an economic return.<br />Base management decisions on economics.<br />Keep financial records.<br />File schedule F<br />Calculate cost of production.<br />Determine profitability per unit of production.<br />
  40. 40. Science and technology<br />Use scientifically-proven methods of production to raise sheep and goats.<br />Disease treatment<br />Preventative health<br />Feeding<br />Breeding and selection<br />
  41. 41. Science and technology<br />Not all science is practical or economical.<br />Not all research is properly designed or conducted.<br />Apply your own logic and reasoning to research data and conclusions.<br />
  42. 42. Science and technology<br />Listen to, but don’t rely on testimonials.<br />Test your own hypotheses.<br />Conduct on-farm research.<br />Share research needs with the university.<br />
  43. 43. The art of farming<br />Some things you can’t learn in a book.<br />Science can’t explain everything.<br />Some things you can control.<br />You need to balance book knowledge with the real world.<br />The livestock don’t read the books.<br />
  44. 44. Thank you for your attention<br /><br />