Friday, April 9, 2010

U.S. sheep industry survey results

In an effort to get a better understanding of today's sheep producers, the American Sheep Industry Association (ASI) administered a survey this past winter --and the results are in! 

Sheep producers with 1 to 100 head of sheep comprise 64 percent of the industry, compared to 59 percent 20 years ago. Sixty-four percent of producers identify themselves as commercial producers; 22 percent as seedstock producers, 10 percent as club lamb producers, 4 percent as lamb feeders, and 0.4 percent as dairies.

The typical percentage of lambs born per ewe exposed is 159 percent.  For lambs weaned, the percentage is 146 percent. The average weaning weight is 69  lbs.  The average annual ewe replacement rate is 18 percent.

Fifty-four percent of producers sell their slaughter lambs at livestock auctions. Forty-three percent sell lambs live to consumers; 29 percent sell meat to consumers.  Thirty-five percent of wool growers sell their wool direct to a buyer. Twenty-nine percent sell their wool to a wool pool.   Twenty-eight percent of respondents to the survey do not have wool to sell.

More than 70 breeds and crosses were identified in the survey.  Meat breeds are the most popoular, but hair sheep ranked number nine and ten among the top ten breeds.  The top 10 breeds are Suffolk, Rambouillet, Dorset, Targhee, Polypay, Suffolk-crosses, Hampshire, Columbia, Katahdin, and Dorper.

Complete results of the survey will be published in a series of articles in the Sheep Industry News.

Source:  Sheep Industry News, April 2010.

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