January 6, 2006 -- According to the Livestock Marketing Information Center (LMIC), the U.S. sheep flock is expected to show another year-to-year increase in inventory numbers as producers continued to increase retention of ewe lambs during 2005.
Compared to a year ago, the national sheep inventory is estimated to be up more than 2 percent with the breeding herd up nearly 3 percent. The number of replacement ewes is expected to show a 3.5-percent year-to-year increase with ewes one year and older up 2.6 percent. The number of market lambs is up just over 1 percent compared to last year.
LMIC predicts that the 2005 lamb crop will be approximately 1 percent larger than that in 2004.
?This forecast of U.S. sheep expansion for a second year in a row is positive for the entire industry, in particular for the feeding and meat segments, who can expect more slaughter lambs in 2006,? commented Peter Orwick, executive director for the American Sheep Industry Association (ASI). ?In the initial stage of the expansion, fewer ewe lambs have been available for the meat trade but now as breeding animals they are helping to increase commercial lamb production.?
These numbers are the LMIC pre-report estimates, which are utilized for the Jan. 1, 2006 U.S. Sheep Report published by the U.S. Department of Agriculture?s National Agricultural Statistics Service and is scheduled to be released on Friday, Jan. 27. ASI is an organizational member of LMIC, located in Lakewood, Colo.