600,300 Sheep and Lamb Losses in 2004
June 10, 2005
June 10, 2005 -- This information was reported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture?s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) in the Sheep and Goats Death Loss report for 2004. A note to be aware of as you review these numbers is that this detailed breakout of sheep and lamb losses only account for lambs lost after docking; lambs lost before docking are not counted.
Sheep and lamb losses from predators totaled 224,200 accounting for 66,400 sheep and 157,800 lambs. This represents 37.3 percent of the total losses from all causes and resulted in a loss of $18.3 million to farmers and ranchers.
Coyotes and dogs caused the majority of sheep and lamb losses equating to 60.5 percent and 13.3 percent respectively. Mountain lions, cougars, bears, fox, eagles, bobcats and other predators accounted for the remaining 26.2 percent of losses due to predators, an approximate value of $4.8 million.
The American Sheep Industry Association (ASI) estimates that approximately 30 percent of predation in lambs occurs prior to docking. Five western states reported pre-docking lamb loss numbers in 2004. Utilizing this information, ASI estimates that an additional 50,000 to 60,000 lambs were lost across the entire nation before docking. That raises the number of lambs lost to predation in 2004 from 157,800 to more than 210,000.
Deaths from non-predator causes equaled 367,100, which breaks-out to 148,900 sheep and 227,200 lambs. Losses in this area represent 62.7 percent of all losses with a total value of $33.3 million. Respiratory problems was the leading cause of non-predator deaths accounting for 17.5 percent, followed by digestive problems at 17.1 percent. Lambing problems, weather related issues, and old age rounded out the top five non-predator causes.
Farmers and ranchers throughout the United States spent $9.8 million on non-lethal methods to control predators. Fencing was the most frequently used method at 52.7 percent. Night penning, guard dogs, and lamb sheds were the next most commonly used methods of preventing sheep and lamb losses at 32.9 percent, 31.8 percent and 30.8 percent respectively.
To view the entire Sheep and Goats Death Loss report, log on to http://usda.mannlib.cornell.edu/reports/nassr/livestock/pgg-bbsg/predan05.pdf. These details are published on five-year cycles with the previous report containing 1999 data.
Staff contact: Tom McDonnell, ext. 54