Sheep Herd Increases 13 Percent

New York sheep and lambs totaled 70,000 head on Jan. 1, 2013, according to King Whetstone, U.S. Agriculture Department National Agricultural Statistics Service, New York Field Office director.

The total is a 13 percent increase from the 62,000 head of the previous year. A total of 45,000 lambs were born in New York during 2012, a 5 percent increase from the 2011 total. Breeding ewes one year old and older in 2012 totaled 38,000 head, yielding a lambing rate of 118 per 100 ewes, 18 percent more than the 2011 rate.

New York wool production during 2012 totaled 220,000 pounds, an increase of 5 percent from a year earlier. The average price received for wool increased 10 cents to 70 cents per pound. The value of production increased to $154,000.

All sheep and lamb inventory in the United States on Jan. 1, 2013, totaled 5.34 million head, a 1 percent decrease from 2012. Breeding sheep inventory decreased to 3.98 million head on Jan. 1, 2013, a 1 percent decrease from the 4 million head on Jan. 1, 2012. Ewes one year old and older, at 3.14 million head, were 1 percent less than last year.

Market sheep and lambs on Jan. 1, 2013, totaled 1.36 million head, a 1 percent decrease from Jan. 1, 2012. Market lambs comprised 94 percent of the total market inventory. Twenty-three percent were lambs under 65 pounds, 12 percent were 65 to 84 pounds, 22 percent were 85 to 105 pounds and 37 percent were more than 105 pounds. Market sheep comprised the remaining 6 percent of total market inventory.

The 2012 lamb crop of 3.46 million head, decreased 2 percent from 2011. The 2012 lambing rate was 109 lambs per 100 ewes one year old and older on Jan. 1, 2012, unchanged from 2011.

Shorn wool production in the United States during 2012 was 28.5 million pounds, a 3 percent decrease from 2011. Sheep and lambs shorn totaled 3.93 million head, also decreased 2 percent from 2011. The average price paid for wool sold in 2012 was $1.53 per pound for a total value of 43.6 million dollars, a decrease of 11 percent from $48.9 million in 2011.