By CECILIA PARSONS
For the Capital Press
TULARE, Calif. -- Reflecting a volatile lamb market and challenging feed conditions in the southern part of the state, there were no red hot prices paid for rams at the 2013 California Ram Sale April 13.
The ram sale, in its 93rd year, offers commercial sheep producers a chance to buy rams that have been sifted for quality and health that will sire next year's lamb crop.
A total of 456 rams averaged a little over $500 per head -- a near repeat of last year's average, except 45 fewer rams went through the sales ring.
Suffolk rams averaged $525 a head with 283 sold. Lloyd McCabe of Dixon consigned the high selling ram, at $1,025. Last year 323 Suffolk range rams sold averaged $575 with the high pen selling for $900 each.
Whiteface rams, which had higher average prices than blackface rams for the last two years, dropped slightly to average $531 per head. This year, 50 whiteface rams sold with the high price at $1,200. Last year 46 whiteface rams sold for an average of $597 per head.
Crossbred range rams averaged $470 per head with 119 sold. High selling pen was $750.
California Wool Growers Association President Greg Ahart said the California sheep ranchers have seen dramatic price changes to the lamb market this year and considering what level the land market is, the sale was a tremendous success.
"Over 450 rams selling for over $500 per head average was not bad at all," said Ahart. "CWGA appreciates this support from the membership who purchased their rams at this year's sale.
Ahart noted that CGWA included some specific information about the rams for buyers this year. Consigners were able to have their rams ultra sounded prior to the sale to determine their loin eye measurement and body condition score.