April 26, 2000 | By: Aimee D. Heald

Sheeprofit Day 2000 is dedicated to all Kentucky sheep producers - past, present and future. Sheep, a valuable resource of meat and fiber, have been part of the Kentucky landscape since the settlers arrived in the 1700s. During the 1800s, the Kentucky Spring Lamb became the hallmark of dining elegance in the finest restaurants of New York and Philadelphia. By the 1940s, the ewe numbers in Kentucky peaked at one million head.

Today, Kentucky sheep producers range in age and experience from the nine-year-old novice working on a 4-H project, to the 50-year veteran with a herd of several hundred ewes. Totaling over 800 in number, these sheep producers with herds ranging from five to 500 ewes can be found in some 100 of the state's 120 counties.

"Dedication, enthusiasm, concern for others - these are some of the common threads that are woven in the rich tapestry that forms the sheep industry, Monty Chappell, University of Kentucky College of Agriculture Extension sheep specialist, said. "Kentucky's sheep people are true role models of the high standards that exist throughout the agricultural industry. They are stewards of resources working with environmentally friendly animals."

The sheep center at the UK Animal Research Center will be opened on May 18, 2000 in the spirit of all who struggled to maintain and improve the sheep industry and to those who will continue the quality and enthusiasm of sheep production into Kentucky's future. Some topics of discussion on Sheeprofit day include: Finding the Ewes That Pay the Bills Measuring Material Value; Potential of Hair Sheep in Kentucky; Managing Fall-Born Polypay Lambs For Spring Market; Fibroenzyme Supplementation; Optimizing Added Value in Direct Lamb Marketing; Nutrient Management For the ARC Sheep Unit; Estimating Forage Availability/Intake in Intensive Sheep Grazing Systems; and Production of Fall-Born Polypay Lambs. For more information, contact Chappell at (859) 257-2716.

Also in May, UK will host a Ewe Profit School on May 31 at the UK Woodford County Animal Research Center sheep barn. The new facilities provide many new ways to teach important sheep production skills and offer producers a chance to see the new sheep unit.

Hands-on instruction and training will start at 8:30 a.m. and end at 3 p.m. This session provides real-life experience for new and developing sheep producers from selection through the breeding season. The fall lambing school will be Oct. 4, 2000 at the same location.

All of the workshops are geared toward people who are either looking at sheep production as a possible farming option or who have been in the business for a short time.

"It is a really good opportunity to get down to the most basic elements of this enterprise," Monty Chappell, Extension sheep specialist in the UK College of Agriculture, said. "Our participants get to experience first-hand, such management procedures as trimming feet, injections, drenching, and feeding."

Chappell also said it is a good time to determine if these common types of management practices are things producers really want to deal with on a regular basis.

Since these workshops started in 1977, participants from 90 Kentucky counties and twelve other states have taken advantage of the training and advice from the UK staff.

Pre-registration for the Ewe Profit School is not required, but would help in planning the event. Participants should wear comfortable work clothes and expect to get some hands-on experience.

The entrance to the UK Animal Research Center is located one mile east of the state highway 60 and 62 intersection, near Versailles. Interested individuals can call 859-257-2716 for additional information or to pre-register by Friday, May 26.


Monty Chappell 859-257-2716