Category Archives: Economics & Taxes

Can i keep sheep and goats together?

Goats and Sheep are a very common beginner animal when one is looking to get into raising livestock for the homestead. Wether you are raising livestock for meat, milk or wool/fiber, both goats and sheep have something to offer. Many people will begin their livestock venture with either a few goats or a few sheep but further down the line, they decide they would like to add goats to their farm if they only have sheep or vice-versa.

For many, it is unclear whether those two species can be raised together, sharing the same shelter, same pasture, same feed, etc. Well the good news is, it is very easy to keep these species together just as long as a few precautions are followed.

The most important difference between goats and sheep is their nutritional needs. These needs are almost identical except for one very important thing. Goats require a copper supplement, whereas sheep do not. In fact, copper is toxic to sheep. If a sheep receives too much copper over time, it can be fatal. Most of the uncertainty of keeping these animals together, comes from this one nutritional difference between the species. Fortunately this nutritional difference is easy to work around.

There are two options here:

1. Both species are fed a general feed that is without copper. This can be an All-Stock Feed, a Sweet Horse Feed, many feed stores even offer a Sheep & Goat feed. The latter type of feed would be best. A general all species mineral can also be fed along side these types of feed. The only type of feed/mineral that can not be fed to both species is a Goat Specific Feed or Cattle Specific feed because these both have added copper that is not good for the sheep. If you go this route, many times the goats will not be receiving the proper amount of copper in their diet. This requires that the goats be supplemented with copper. A copper bolus is the most common and effective way of supplementing goats with copper.

2. The second option is keeping both species together but buying species-specific feed and mineral and feeding them separately at feeding time. This can work depending on your setup but if goats and sheep are fed in the same area, there is a good chance they will end up in each other’s feed so option one is really the best option.

All other aspects of feeding and raising goats are very similar. They both require a good quality hay. An orchard grass mix is best for both species. An alfalfa mix could be supplemented during lactation but it is not recommended to give alfalfa to sheep and goats that are pregnant as it could cause the kids/lambs to grow too fast inside the mom and cause labor problems.

Now that you understand their nutritional needs, here are a few other things to know about keeping goats and sheep together:

Their shelter requirements are the same. Both species require a 3 sided shelter at the very least. Goats dislike rain and just generally getting wet, much more than sheep do so keep this in mind when providing shelter. It should be adequate enough that both species can stay dry no matter what the season or the weather.

Goats and Hair sheep don’t require much in the way of grooming. Angora Goats and Wool Sheep require quite a bit more when it comes to grooming. Both of those woolier breeds will need to be sheared during the spring and sometimes the fall as well. When it comes to hoof-trimming, goats will require more frequent trimming than sheep. Goat hooves are also a bit softer than sheep hooves so be aware of this when trimming. It can take some adjusting when moving from one species to the next.

Goats are browsers and they prefer to eat bushes, tall weeds and low hanging tree branches before they will turn their attention to grass and short weeds. Sheep are grazers who prefer grass, forbs, or short weeds to bushes but they will definitely investigate low bushes and low hanging tree branches. They are just less inclined to spend as much of their time doing that as goats will.

When it comes to breeding, goats and sheep have about a 5 month gestation and depending on the breed of goat or sheep, they will either breed year round or seasonally. Sheep and Goats that breed seasonally, generally come into heat during the fall in order to lamb or kid in the spring. Knowing this, it would be easy to keep a mixed group of does and ewes and breed them all at the same time if you have access to a ram and buck.

When breeding, it is not recommended to throw both a ram and buck into a mixed flock of ewes and as this could cause a lot of stress and confusion in the herd. When it comes time to breed, animals should be split into species specific herds with the right male thrown in or does and ewes should be taken to the buck or ram for a visit. It is also not recommended to keep bucks and rams together when they are not being used for a breeding. A ram can seriously injure a buck, especially during rut. Rams tend to be stronger than bucks with stronger skulls and they have been known to kill bucks with just one head-butt. Bucks also like to rear up when head-butting, whereas rams like to ram in a straight line. This usually ends up with the buck received a serious blow to their abdomen which can be fatal. So it is important to keep the males of these species separate.

The last thing I would like to mention is that both goats and sheep are very social animals. Some people sometimes just want to start out with one animal just to get their feet wet. You cannot keep a lone goat or sheep, it will be a very happy and loud animal not matter how much attention you can give it. You must keep at least two. Similarly, it is not recommended to have only one of each species kept together. Two goats and two Sheep of the same sex, are the minimum one should have when keeping these species together. While sheep can bond to goats and vice versa, they will create a MUCH stronger bond with their own species because that is who they are most comfortable with. As someone with a mixed herd, I can tell you that in a more confined space, sheep and goats will mingle pretty regularly but no matter how long they have been together, when let out into the open, they will find the ones that look most like them and stick with them. It’s what is natural to them. So if you are thinking of adding either one species or the other to your herd, make sure whatever you are adding, has a companion of the same species to bond with or they will be very unhappy in the long run.

If one keeps all of these factors in mind and uses a bit of common sense for anything not covered here, then one can be very successful in raising sheep and goats together.

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Profit Machine: sheep farming

Sheep are quadrupedal, ruminant mammals typically kept as livestock. Generally, sheep indicates the mammal which is hollow-horned, typically gregarious ruminant related to the goats, but stockier and lacking a beard in the male; one long domesticated especially for its flesh and wool.

Sheep Farm

A sheep farm is a place that use to sell wool and meat. It is not the latest concept of harvesting. Parenting this animal commenced really early occasion and it is one type of cattle farming. At that time sheep harvesting had been just for an ingestion goal. Nowadays, this type of farm is one sort of animal husbandry specifically handling the raising and breeding of domestic sheep. This harvesting is primarily based on raising lambs for meat, as well as raising lamb to produce wool.

Sheep Breeds

There are more breeds of sheep than breeds of any other livestock. You will discover several 1, 000 different sheep breeds over the world. There are more than 40 breeds in the United States only. At each birthing event Ewes usually give birth to one to three lambs. The process known as breeding, the technical term for all species is parturition. First-time Ewes are more likely to have single births, though twins are not uncommon in some breeds. Twin birth is more common in well-managed flocks and with many breeds of sheep.

Sheep Farming process:

Sheep farming with multi-face utility for wool, meat, milk, skins and manure, is not an easy task to do. You need to know, how to farm sheep? The concerns for farming are:

Sheep Housing:

Housing affects the breeding and parturition percentages. Usually the practice of shed parturition ensures higher breeding. Housing for sheep varies with the weather and season(s) of breeding. Management preferences of the shepherd are also important. If breeding will occur during periods of rough weather, more elaborate housing is usually required. On the other hand, if breeding will occur on pasture during periods of mild weather, plain housing enough.

Sheep Food:

Nutrition plays a major role in the overall productivity and well-being of the sheep flock. It is important that producers consider nutrition management a top priority. Mostly sheep eat grass, clover, hay, and other pasture plants.

Benefit of Sheep Farming:

Sheep farm is an excellent business prospect as you can start small and grow from there. It is very beneficial for a lot of reasons. A sheep farm can answer; where to buy sheep, is there any sheep for sale, does it have alpacas? Etc. However, the success of your sheep farming business will depend on three basic parameters that include the choice of their food, breed, and the overall management of the animals. Benefits of Sheep farming are given below –

  • Anybody can start with low capital and low experience.
  • It does not need an expensive housing to house them.
  • Sheep have multi-faceted utility like meat, skin, wool, manure etc.
  • The initial livestock are relatively cheap and it breeds rapidly
  • Usually sheep eat varied kinds of plants and weed compared to other kind of livestock.
  • It is not too much harmful to damage any tree.
  • Sheep dung is also used as a valuable fertilizer.
  • And, finally production of wool, meat and manure provides three different sources of income.

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The best profit of the desert: sheep farming

In the time when Woodrow Wilson was President of the United States he used sheep for grazing in the White House Lawn. They sold the wool to raise money for the Red Cross in World War 1. Over the years since ancient times to the modern days sheep has been a form of life for many people do to the fact that they are very productive and can reach high production in less years. Has been stated that sheep will produce more lambs in less time than a cow. In many ways it can be a more profitable business and reach exceptional numbers of head in a very little time. The biggest losses in the sheep industry and where they affect the most occurs when the herd is attacked by predators which will immensely affect the production of sheep do to the stress that many ewes go throw. Predators will likely go for the smaller lambs but the herd can stress out to the presence of the predator that most ewes in gestation can result in abortion.

Predators are the main reason many farmers do not like to produce sheep, or they prefer to keep their sheep in the barn and avoid letting them loose for grazing. Among the most deadly predators is the coyote, do to his size he will most like attack a sheep rather than cattle, unlike the mountain lion that has more strength to kill cattle. The coyote is a bigger treat to the sheep industry and must be controlled before they can finish of the herd. Figure 1 shows the probability of attack of the most common predators farmers can encounter on desert areas; this study was made at Ranch Ojo Caliente in Mexico. As it shows in the graph the coyote is the first and most deadly animal on the sheep farming business, then the bob cat and at last the mountain lion. Even tough the Mountain Lion has more strength and apparently he will be the biggest threat, he prefers to attack bigger and tastier animals. The profitability of the business is greatly affected by them. The sheep when they are at a predator’s sight they bunch up together so they can protect themselves and predators will reach the outside sheep. The most common predators are, coyotes, lions, bob cats, wolfs, etc. Schoenian Susan, (n.d).

There are many types of losses on the herd and not necessarily includes predators but new born diseases and lack of protection from the cold. Is very common for a sheep and mostly on lambs that are on the feeding program to get sick from a high consumption of grains and cereals. Another cause of losses on the herds is a poor management by the shepherd or the omission of vaccines and dewormers. It is important to avoid every type of losses in order to profit form the business. First is the need to control predators from attacking the herd. In this area it is important to accompany the herd with a shepherd when they are loose and grazing. Also have a guardian dog with the herd at all times. The guardian dog must be raised form his moment of birth with the sheep this way he will feel he is one of them. Schoenian Susan , (n.d). Guardian dogs bond with sheep’s from their birth till they reach their adult age and becomes their guardian at all costs. Guardian dogs may have a difficult time blending in and at many times they get rammed by the sheep in the herd. The shepherd must be equipped with a small rifle for warning shots to keep the predators away. For avoiding natural losses it is important for all lambs that are going to enter the feeding program to have pre feeding period that will get their rumens ready for grain consumption. This will avoid diseases further on the program. To avoid other type of diseases every sheep must be vaccinated twice a year and dewormed. Many times it is necessary to supplement minerals on their daily ration to strengthen his defenses and be ready to receive the winter.

The type of feeds that sheep eat will represent the profit at the end of the year. For high meat production is important that all male lambs enter the feeding program, this will permit to gain weight on the lambs. Every lamb entering the program needs to pass the pre feeding period applying the method of creep feeding which consist of supplementing grains at a low doses in traps in which the ewe does not have access to. Once they reach the feeding department they have to be fed on stretch feeders so every lamb eats the same portion of food. Otherwise the dominating lambs will eat an extra portion. All lambs must be weighted before entering the program so the farmer can measure the success of the program at the end. Food must be supplemented daily and available every day of the feeding program. If the farmer sees a sheep that is preventing the rest of the sheep to eat the same portion of food, that sheep must be separated from the flock for the sake of the sheep and the flock. Every ewe that is in gestation must be introduce to the flushing method of feeding which consist on supplementing high quality forage and grains to the ewes on their last 50 to 30 days of gestation. This is with the intent of producing more milk on the ewe to deliver and feed his new born lamb for the next two to three months.

Management can be the difference between profit and no profit. A well managed farm can produce high success in the business. Is important to follow farm guidelines to the letter; from vaccine dates to small operations on the farm. Is important to maintain the premises clean and provide sheep with clean water every day. Keep a record of every aspect of the farm and make annotations of every concept or things that are predicted. Ear tagging is another way of keeping and organized control over the flock, marking every lamb from the moment of birth till it reaches the sacrifice age or the breeding age. This will help the farmer know when and what ewes can be used as replacement ewes. Record should include birth age, mother and father records, type of birth, birth weight, weaning weight, vaccine dates, and breed. Rams must be kept well fed and in different departments until the breeding season begins. The ewe must be well fed, so she can be strong to support upon the rams exposure. It is important that all tails are cut on birth to prevent diseases cause by the excrement of the sheep. Is also of important to the program success to weight every lamb before they start the feeding program and after they finish unless there are rams that are going to be left for breeding; which has to be every month.

Figure 2 Production in the future

2009 2010 2011 2012
Production Ewes 50 116 269 624
Total Lambs 150 348 808 1872
Additional Ewes 66 153 355 823
Lambs for market 66 153 355 823
Deaths 12% 18 41 96 224

There are several hair breeds that have a high production conversion. Production refers to the quantity of heads that can be produced in a given period as shown in Figure 2. Historic fact, According to Schoenian Susan (n.d) , Over the past 200 years, the U.S. sheep population has come full circle. From 7 million head in the early 1800’s, sheep numbers peaked at 56 million head in 1945, and then declined to less than 7 million head on January 1, 2003. At the same time, industry emphasis switched from wool to meat production. Sheep numbers increased slightly in 2005 and 2006, the first time since 1990.

The Katahdin breed that was originated in Main USA and has his name in honor to Mount Katahdin that stands in this state and is also the most prolific breed among the hair breeds and is very resistant to cold weathers and can adjust to any kind of climate. They are white hair animals and robust. They have long neck and short legs; their back straitens out and gives this breed a taste of elegance. One of the most profitable breeds in the market. The Dorper breed originated in some place of Africa and has blood from the famous Dorset wool breed. It is a very strong breed that can adjust to any environment and has the strength to support very cold weathers. The main characteristic of these animals is that there hair is white but the head is covered with black hair. Is also a very robust breed and has a high meat conversion. The Pelibuey breed has exceptional maternal instinct and can give birth to three or four lambs in one cycle. Their hair is light brown and many of them can show a black circle, like mole type just above the eyes.

One of the ways to increase profitability of the company and have bigger meat conversions is by applying cross breeding in the system. To have the best meat conversion is to cross breed two hair breeds; is recommended to cross Pelibuey ewes with a Katahdin ram or a Dorper ram. This way it can gain the maternal instinct and prolific characteristic of the Pelibuey and the strength to support any kind of whether from the Dorper or Katahdin. This will result in a F1 hybrid. To this cross a third breed will be implemented which will be a wool breed like the Suffolk to give the crossed lambs higher meat conversions. This is called a terminal cross where every lamb from this cross will go to the slaughter, sex does not matter. Even tough the saml ewes can be used as replacement ewes it is not recommendable because do to that third cross coming from a wool breed can bring additional operating costs to the farm. That is why it is important to send all lambs from the last cross to the slaughter house and convert that extra income instead of bringing more operating costs to the farm.

Any body that wants to go into the sheep farming business it is important to reduce predator attacks and minimize looses on the herd. Always be sure to accompany the herd with a guardian dog that sleeps, eats and spends the day with them. And the use of a shepherd, when the sheep are out grazing and that he is equipped with a weapon in case a predator presence in the area. Lamb survival is a crucial part in preventing losses as well, and in this particular case the shepherd has to be well informed on what days each ewe is going to give birth. Sheep farming in general is a very outworking job but the profits will make out for all those days of hard work. If the farm has all the necessary equipment and well managed the company must succeed.

Reference Page
Schoenian Susan , (n.d). Sheep 101. SHEEP 101. Retrieved April 24, 2008, from
SHEEP WORLD. (2003). Sheep Farming. Retrieved April 24, 2008, from
Farmers Weekly (Ed.). (2007). SHEEP BETTER RETURNS PROGRAMME [University of Phoenix Custom Edition e-Text]. NORTHUMBERLAND, UK Ltd.: Red business information. Retrieved April 24, 2008, from University of Phoenix, rEsource, Web site.

Dwyer, C. M.,. (2004). How has the risk of predation shaped the behavioral responses of sheep to fear and distress?. ANIMAL WELFARE, 13 (3), 269-281 . Retrieved April 24, 2008, from EBSCOHOST database.
Snowder,, G. D.,., Stellflug,, J. N.,., & Van Vleck,, L. D.,. (2004). Genetic correlation of ram sexual performance with ewe reproductive traits of four sheep breeds. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 88 (3-4), 253-261. Retrieved April 24, 2008, from EBSCOHOST database.

Ernesto Beall

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Australia live sheep export industry

The live sheep export industry is an important industry to Australia, providing a vital market for sheep producers to sell their livestock to and underpinning the domestic sheep farming industry.

The majority of sheep are exported from the port of Fremantle in Western Australia, with almost three quarters of Australian sheep exported from this port in 2009. Over 50% of sheep from the sheep production industry in Western Australia are exported live overseas, making the industry especially important to the Western Australian economy. Other ports that export live sheep include Portland and Port Adelaide.

Australian sheep are exported to countries across the Middle East, primarily Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Bahrain, Jordan, Qatar and the UAE. In 2009 over 3.5 million sheep were exported to these countries, with Kuwait taking 950,000 head and and Bahrain taking 747,000 head of sheep respectively. The number of sheep exported in 2009 represented a drop of 15% on the previous year, with demand for the live export of sheep far outstripping supply in the Australian sheep production industry last year. This has resulted in calls for the sheep farming industry to rebuild sheep flocks in the coming years.

In 2009 the live export of sheep contributed A$323 million to the Australian economy.

Australia also has a live cattle export industry and a live goat export industry, primarily exporting to countries throughout South East Asia. Indonesia is the primary market for the live cattle export industry, and Malaysia is the primary market for the live goat export industry. The live cattle export industry contributed A$662 million to the Australian economy in 2009, and the live goat export industry contributed A$11.5 million.

Australia is also involved in the meat export industry, exporting chilled and frozen beef, sheep and goat meat products to countries across the world in addition to exporting livestock. This is because there is demand for red meat products as well as livestock from overseas countries, and Meat and Livestock Australia invests in promoting all of these products to consumers overseas.

This is why arguments that Australia could cease supplying live sheep exports and replace them with sheep meat exports are not realistic. The two trades are complementary, and it is not as simple as replacing one trade with the other as they serve the needs of different consumers in Middle Eastern markets.

Meat and Livestock Australia and LiveCorp invest heavily in improving the welfare of sheep, cattle and goats throughout the livestock export industry.

This investment involves programs to improve the welfare of live sheep exports once they arrive in the Middle East. This includes employing a team of animal welfare experts that work with local veterinarians, stockmen, truck drivers, feedlot operators and port staff to improve how Australian sheep are cared for in the region.

This team provides training courses to local workers, upgrades facilities and installs new equipment and infrastructure to improve the care of Australian sheep overseas.

Highlights of this work in 2009 included the development of a sheep trolley, which assists local workers in the Middle East to move sheep humanely and efficiently. The trolleys have been distributed to each major importing country in the region and allow sheep to be comfortably wheeled from feedlots to processing facilities.

It also included the installation of new port discharge facilities in Kuwait, which have ensured sheep are able to be unloaded in Shuwaikh Port safely and securely.

This work has made a significant difference to the welfare of live sheep exports from Australia, and the live sheep export industry is committed to continuing to improve animal welfare in the countries we export to.

Learn more about live sheep exports [] and cattle live exports [] by visiting the Live Export Care web

Reprinted: Can You Make Money With Sheep?

Presented at the Sheep Management WisLine Program – March 6, 2008. 1 Can You Make Money With Sheep? David L. Thomas

Department of Animal Sciences University of Wisconsin-Madison Before entering into sheep production, you should be aware of the capital costs of getting started, annual operating costs, and annual income that can be expected for the enterprise. Sheep production, like most agricultural enterprises, requires a major investment of time and labor, so it is desirable to have some idea in advance if a profit can be expected. Even if profit is not a primary goal, it is desirable to have an estimate for planning purposes of the amount of money the operation will require for start-up and operation. There are some good spreadsheets available free of charge on the internet from agricultural universities that allow you to develop a sheep enterprise budget. Two that I am most familiar with are from Cornell University (Thonney, 2004) and the University of Maryland (Shoenian, 2004). These budgets have been constructed in EXCEL spreadsheets, and they can be downloaded to your computer for easy access. They come with default values but also allow you to put in your own figures to tailor the results to your particular situation. For this paper, the University of Maryland spreadsheet is used. Start-up Costs Start-up or capital costs are the big ticket items that are required to get started in the sheep business. Generally, these capital costs are paid for over several years. Below is the capital cost table from the University of Maryland spreadsheet. Capital Costs You can only edit values highlighted in yellow. Number Cost Unit Total Per Ewe Ewes 50 $150 head $7,500 $150.00 Rams 2 $300 head $600 $12.00 Fencing $4,000 total $4,000 $80.00 Corral/Working pens $2,000 total $2,000 $40.00 Pasture est./improvement 10.0 $170 acre $1,700 $34.00 Watering system $100 total $100 $2.00 Housing cost $0 total $0 $0.00 Supplies and equipment $1,000 total $1,000 $20.00 Other $0 total $0 $0.00 TOTAL START-UP COSTS $16,900 $338.00 # YEARS TO PAY OFF INVESTMENT 10.6 You may notice that land, the most expensive item for a farming operation, is not included as a capital cost. It would need to be included if you were entering sheep production as an investment completely separate from the rest of your life. However, we will make the assumption that the farm was purchased as a place for you to live. You have to live somewhere, so the cost of the farm will not be charged against the sheep operation. This budget also assumes that there is an existing building on the farm that can house sheep. Presented at the Sheep Management WisLine Program – March 6, 2008. 2 We will assume a flock of 50 ewes and 2 rams utilizing 10 acres of pasture. This assumes that 1 acre of pasture can support 5 ewes and their lambs during the grazing season. This will vary depending upon soil fertility, rainfall, pasture species, and pasture management. Purchase price of ewes is $150/head (normal range: $100 – $250) and of rams is $300/head (normal range: $250 – $450). Capital fencing costs will vary depending upon quality of existing fences on the farm. If sheep have not been raised on this farm in the past, fencing will be a major cost. Materials for perimeter fencing around 10 acres of pasture will require about $2,700 ($1.00/ft.). Additional materials for internal fencing and/or labor for installation can bring total fencing costs to $4,000 or more. A working facility for sheep has been included for $2,000. A cost of $170/acre has been included for custom establishment of new legumegrass pastures (Barnhart et al., 2006). Pasture costs would be reduced considerably if good quality pastures already existed on the farm. A minimal cost of $100 for watering (a tank and some hoses) has been included. Capital equipment of $1,000 has been included (electric shearing machine and blades, hand shears, drenching gun, foot trimming shears, elastrator for docking and castrating, ear tag applicator, ram marking harnesses, orphan lamb rearing bucket, 10 four-ft. panels for lambing jugs, etc.). Purchase used equipment when available or purchase seasonal equipment jointly with a neighbor to reduce your equipment costs. The total capital costs for starting this 50-ewe flock, without any land or building costs, is estimated at $16,900 or $338 per ewe. Production of Commercial Lambs and Wool – Marketed Through Normal Channels Operating Costs In addition to the capital costs that are to be covered out of profits over a few years, there are annual operating costs, and estimates of these are presented in the following table. OPERATING COSTS: No. Head Amt/hd Unit Cost Total Per Ewe Feed costs Hay 52 0.3 ton $100.00 $1,560 $31.20 Grain 52 180 lb. $0.100 $936 $18.72 Salt and Minerals 52 12.0 lb. $0.18 $112 $2.25 Supplemental feed for lambs 80 180.0 lb. $0.130 $1,872 $37.44 Pasture maintenance 132 10.0 acre $40.00 $400 $8.00 Health program doses Deworming (adults) 52 2 doses $2.00 $208 $4.16 Deworming (lambs) 80 2 doses $1.50 $240 $4.80 CD-T booster (adults) 52 1 doses $1.00 $52 $1.04 CD-T vaccinations (lambs) 80 2 doses $1.00 $160 $3.20 Other vet costs 52 head $5.00 $260 $5.20 Shearing 52 head $3.50 $182 $3.64 Ram replacement 1.00 head $300.00 $300 $6.00 Bedding 52 head $6.00 $312 $6.24 Marketing and Hauling 80 head $5.00 $398 $7.95 Supplies 52 head $5.00 $260 $5.20 Manure disposal ($70/hr) Total cost $350.00 $350 $7.00 Building maintenance Total cost $300.00 $300 $6.00 Interest on operating money 6.0% Cost for 6 months $237 $4.74 TOTAL OPERATING COSTS $8,139 $162.78 Presented at the Sheep Management WisLine Program – March 6, 2008. 3 It is assumed that ewes, rams, and lambs will have access to grazing for 7 months of the year. The greatest operating costs involve providing supplemental feed to the breeding flock. Five months of winter hay feeding (150 days x 4 lb./hd/day = 600 lb. hay/hd/year), grain for the ewes (2 lb./hd/day for 60 days of lactation + 1 lb./hd/day for 30 days of flushing + 1 lb./hd/day during the last 30 days of pregnancy = 180 lb./ewe/year; and an equal amount for the rams), and mineral for the ewes and rams totals $52.17/ewe/year or 32 % of total operating costs. Lambs will be supplemented with 1.0 to 1.2 lb. of grain per head per day while grazing pastures or fed 3.0 to 3.5 lb. of grain per day in drylot at the end of the grazing season for a total grain consumption of 180 lb./hd. Pasture fertilization, periodic reseeding, weed control, and maintenance of fencing are estimated to cost $40.00/acre/year. Flock animal health costs are estimated at $920/year or $18.40/ewe/year. Bedding needs are estimated at 1 lb./ewe and ram/day during the 5 month winter housing period for a total of 7,800 lb. or approximately 4 tons. At $75/ton for small square bales of wheat straw, the 4 tons cost $300. Total annual operating costs are estimated to be $8,139/year or $162.78/ewe/year. Income Let’s determine if there is enough income to pay for the annual operating costs and to pay off the capital costs. Estimated income is presented in the table below. FLOCK COMPOSITION: PRODUCTION PARAMETERS Number of Ewes 50 Percent lamb crop raised 160% Number of Rams 2 Ewe replacement rate 20% Adult death loss 3.0% Ram Replacement Rate 50% INCOME CALCULATION: No. Head lbs./hd Net Price Unit Total Per Ewe Market lambs 70 130 $0.95 lb. $8,645 $172.90 Cull ewes 8.5 165 $0.50 lb. $701 $14.03 Cull rams 1.00 250 $0.50 lb. $125 $2.50 Shorn Wool 52 8.0 $0.30 lb. $125 $2.50 Wool LDP 52 8.0 $0.16 lb. $67 $1.33 Unshorn Lamb Pelt Payment 70 6.865 $0.16 lb. $77 $1.54 Additional income $0 $0.00 TOTAL INCOME $9,739 $194.79 RETURN TO LAND, LABOR AND CAPITAL (profit over operating expenses) $1,601 $32.01 BREAKEVEN LAMB PRICE PER POUND LIVE WEIGHT $0.80 BREAKEVEN PRICE PER POUND CARCASS WEIGHT Yield 52.0% $1.55 It is assumed that the flock will raise to market weight 1.6 lambs/ewe for a total of 80 lambs. The ewe replacement rate is 20 % so 10 ewe lambs will need to be retained in the flock, leaving 70 lambs for sale each year. In addition, 8 to 9 cull ewes and 1 cull ram are sold each year. Eight pounds of wool is shorn from the 50 ewes and 2 rams each year. The lambs are sold without being shorn. Wool and unshorn lambs qualify for a loan deficiency payment. Check with your County Farm Service Agency (FSA) on requirements for obtaining the LDP wool and unshorn lamb payments. Presented at the Sheep Management WisLine Program – March 6, 2008. 4 Total annual income is estimated at $9,739/year or $194.79/ewe/year, and income minus annual operating expenses is $1,601/year or $32.01/ewe/year. It would take 10.6 years to pay off the capital costs if the total annual “profit” of $1,601 was used for this purpose each year. If a loan was taken out for the capital costs at 6 % interest to be paid back in 7 years, this would add $3,800 in interest costs and another 2.4 years until the capital costs were paid (13.0 years total). Improving Profits by Increasing Production and/or Price Increased litter size and/or lamb survival. One way to increase income is to increase the number of lambs raised per ewe in the flock. The example above has a return per ewe of $32.01 when 1.60 lambs are raised per ewe. If lambs raised per ewe increases to 1.80, return per ewe increases to $50.05, and it takes 6.8 years to pay off capital costs. If lambs raised per ewe increases to 2.00, return per ewe increases to $68.09, and it takes 5.0 years to pay off capital costs. Flocks in which most ewes give birth to twins and triplets and successfully rear them will make a greater profit than flocks in which ewes produce mostly singles. Increased price for lambs. A $.10/lb. increase in live lamb price from $.95 to $1.05/lb. due to more creative marketing will increase return per ewe from $32.01 to $50.21 when 1.60 lambs are raised per ewe. The $.10/lb. increase in live lamb price results in about the same increase in returns per ewe as increasing number of lambs raised from 1.60 to 1.80. Direct marketing of lambs may be a way to obtain higher prices, but it also may be associated with greater marketing costs. Increased value for your wool. There is an increasing demand for quality fleeces by handspinners, fiber artists, and crafts people. If you raise a breed that can produce these desirable fleeces without decreasing lamb production and you take special care during the year to avoid contamination of the fleeces with dirt, manure, and vegetable matter, a premium can be obtained by direct marketing your fleeces. If your ewe and ram fleeces brought $2.50/lb. instead of $.30/lb., returns per ewe would increase from $32.01 to $50.32; about the same increase in returns per ewe as would be realized from increasing lambs marketed per ewe from 1.60 to 1.80 or from increasing live lamb price from $.95 to $1.05/lb. Combination of increased production and price. If an increase in lambs raised per ewe (from 1.60 to 1.80) is combined with an improved price of live lambs (from $.95 to $1.05/lb.) and fleeces (from $.30 to $2.50/lb.) through direct marketing, the sheep operation starts to look somewhat more economically viable. Returns per ewe would increase from $32.01 to $89.16 and it would take 3.8 years to pay off the capital investment. Breeding stock sales. Selling purebred breeding stock may also be an avenue to greater returns. If you could sell 10 ram lambs for $350 each, 20 ewe lambs for $250 each, and forty 130 lb. market lambs at $.95/lb., returns per ewe would increase from $32.01 to $122.36. This increased income per ewe has taken into account the purchasing of 2 stud rams per year at $750 each and greater marketing costs of $1,610. Improving Profits by Decreasing Operating Costs The primary way to decrease costs is to feed the ewes and lambs at a lower cost. The grain and hay costs presented in this simulation assume commercial market prices. However, if you can produce your own feed at a lower price, your returns will increase. For example, if your production costs were $50/ton for hay and $2.50/bu. For corn, returns per ewe would increase from $32.01 to $75.00. If you purchase all your feed, opportunities to reduce costs are fewer. Feed costs can be reduced some by feeding grass or grass/legume hay because ewes do not need high protein alfalfa hay. The amount of hay fed can be reduced if the grazing season can be extended more than 7 months by grazing stockpiled pastures during the winter. If very high quality pastures are maintained, the amount of grain fed to ewes and lambs may be able to be reduced also. Presented at the Sheep Management WisLine Program – March 6, 2008. 5 Conclusions Sheep production is not highly profitable given the production, cost, and income figures used in this simulation. The greatest opportunities for increasing returns will come from increasing the number of lambs marketed per ewe and from increasing the price received for lambs and wool through direct marketing. The sheep operation also may provide some tax advantages that would improve its economic appeal, and you should discuss this possibility with an accountant familiar with agricultural enterprises. In addition, there may be recreational, hobby, and quality of life reasons to raise sheep that may be more important than, or just as important as, the economic reasons. Literature Cited Barnhart, S., M. D. Duffy, and D. Smith. 2006. Estimated costs of pasture and hay production – Complete renovation with a legume-grass mixture. Accessed August 29, 2007: ( Shoenian, S. 2004. Sample Sheep Budget – Accessed February 25, 2008: ( Thonney, M. L. 2004. SheepFlock budgeting software. Accessed August 29, 2007: (

Greenbelt/ agricultural assessment service

We Provide landowners, forestry business, attorneys, and county property appraisers expert witness testimony, technical advice, and/or evidence analyst in Greenbelt Agricultural Classification assessment litigation.

Assist property owners with acquisition of Greenbelt Agricultural Classification, including  application, qualification, and appeals.

Provide Greenbelt Agricultural Classified Use appraisal consulting for the public, agricultural and forest industry, and County and State government.

Conduct property inspections, including:  mapping; vegetative use classification; productivity classification; and acreage determination.

Provide Greenbelt Agricultural Classification educational/training (seminar, conference, speech, presentation, etc.) to foresters, appraisers, agricultural associations, financial (mortgage) institutions, and Boards of Realtors. 

Provide Greenbelt Agricultural Classification appraisal training for Property Appraisers and Department of Revenue.

Provide advice and assistance to financial institutions on issues related to Greenbelt Agricultural Classification.

Review Greenbelt Classified Use Agricultural assessments for government and private, including appraisal methodology and models, values, and physical data.

Develop agricultural appraisal models for County Property Appraisers.

Gather and analyze agricultural field and appraisal support (income) data.

Conduct administrative review and develop recommendations (for County Property Appraisers and Department of Revenue) for agricultural appraisal policies, procedures, methodology, and compliance with statutes and FAC Rules.

Review agricultural properties for County Property Appraisers and make recommendations for approval or denial of Greenbelt Agricultural Classification and/or assist with defense of decision.

The listed forestry and Greenbelt Agricultural Classification property tax consulting services are available to both private landowners and government agencies.

The Greenbelt consulting services are not intended as a substitute for, nor should they be construed as, legal advice or legal opinion.  You may need an attorney if you are denied, and wish to pursue, a Greenbelt Agricultural Classification for your property.



Greenbelt Assistance Service

        Sheep house can assist you with filing applications, defending your claim to qualification, developing supporting documentation, and provide recommendations, management plans, etc. for better qualifying your property for the Greenbelt Agricultural Classification; ie.,  If you are attempting  to qualify with livestock even better since we can provide you with the commercial practices of a sheep, goat or cattle operation. our service will cover every step from  site planning, livestock acquisition, local licensing and  property appraiser meeting. We can walk you through and assist you with the entire process whether you are a new owner, have been denied a previously approved Classification, or have concerns over the appraisal value. 

      We can assist you with meetings with the property appraiser and appeals to the VAB, and can assist you and your attorney with litigation. 

    We can review appraisal physical data, including land use classification, acreage, and productivity; we can review appraisal economic data, including  costs, prices, yields, rents,  timber stumpage, and capitalization rates.   

We can help you with any Greenbelt application, qualification, and appraisal issue.

Notice of Denial: Agricultural Classification of Land

Notice of Denial of  Agricultural Classification of Land!   Agricultural Classification/Greenbelt application disapproved…!

It’s that time again.

We can help!

All denials of Agricultural Classification/Greenbelt applications and renewals must be mailed by the county property appraiser no later than July 1.  The denial of all or part of the acreage in an original application (form DR-482) will be recorded on the bottom of the form, action 2 or 3.  DR-490, Notice of Disapproval of Application for Property Tax Exemption or Classification by the County Property Appraiser, will be used as the denial notice for Greenbelt renewals.

What do you do now?  You must take action immediately , the decision  is final no later than 30 days from the postmark date on the denial notice.  Some property appraisers mail out denial notices prior to July 1; i.e., your time frame for action may be prior to the end of July or may have already expired.  If after receiving the denial notice, you are unable to convince the property appraiser your property is qualified for Greenbelt, and want to appeal the denial, you must file a petition (DR-486) to the Value Adjustment Board by the 30th day following the postmark date.  The Value Adjustment Board will determine hearing dates later; and, you will be notified.  If you are unsure you want to appeal to the Board, you must file the petition in order to reserve your right to appeal.

You have several options for addressing the denial.

The property must be used primarily for bonefide commercial agricultural purposes to qualify for Greenbelt.  If the property is not qualified and no changes in current use are planned, you may simply accept the denial.

You may accept the denial for the current year and file again next year when your actions, activities, and use increase and the property will more likely comply with the requirements.  We can assist you with qualifying your property for Greenbelt classification.

You may appeal the current denial to the Value Adjustment Board.

 Contact us for assistance with your appeal or with your reapplication.

Greenbelt Agricultural Classification filing period

Greenbelt Agricultural Classification filing period:   January 1 – March 1

If you are the owner of Agricultural Property which did not receive a Greenbelt Agricultural Classification under your ownership in 2015, and you wish to apply for this Classification for the privileged lower property tax assessment in 2016, you must file an application between January 1 and March 1 with the Property Appraiser in the county where the property is located.  The form number is DR-482,  Application and Return for Agricultural Classification of Lands, and is available from the County Property Appraiser or online either from the Department of Revenue or the County Property Appraiser’s Office.  Note: some property appraisers may use a substitute form.

If you already receive a Greenbelt Agricultural Classification on your property and wish to continue the Classification in 2014, you will receive one of two forms from the County Property Appraiser.  If the County requires annual renewal of the Classification, you will receive a green card, DR-499, Agricultural Classification of Lands Renewal.  You must sign and return the DR-499 card between January 1 and March 1.  If your County does not require an annual renewal of the Classification, you will receive a different green card, DR-499AR, Removal of Agricultural Classification.  Regardless of the form name, this is your automatic renewal card; you do nothing with it unless your property is no longer qualified for the Classification.

Greenbelt common mistakes

Don’t make these common mistakes:  they could cost you!

If you are under the impression, or were told, a Greenbelt Agricultural Classification held by the previous owner
transfers with an exchange of ownership, it does not!  You must file a new application.

The absolute filing deadline is March 1.  The law does allow for extenuating circumstances; however, failure to make timely application, unawareness of the need to apply, and “lost in the mail” are usually not acceptable as extenuating circumstances.

Get a receipt copy (stamped received) of your DR-482 application.  Get a receipt for the DR-499 card; it is another green card:  DR-499R.

A Greenbelt Agricultural Classification is an extremely valuable document to place in the mail:  File the DR-482 and 499 in person, if possible, or, at least make sure you receive a receipt from the Property Appraiser prior to the filing deadline. 

Do not sign and return the DR-499AR card unless your property is no longer qualified for the Greenbelt Agricultural Classification.  You will be removing the Classification if you sign and return the card.