Sheep and lamb losses from predator and non-predator causes in the United States totaled 634,500; adult sheep counted for 234,500 head and lambs at the balance of 400,000.
This was the information released as a cooperative effort by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) and Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service in the recently released Sheep and Goat Death Loss Report. This report provides sheep and lamb predator losses after docking and detailed breakouts for non-predator causes.
Animal predator losses totaled 247,200 head, the single largest cause of loss in the sheep business. Among a dozen reasons for death loss, predator kills of sheep and lamb represents 39 percent of the total and resulting in $20.5 million of lost revenue to farmers and ranchers.
Harsh conditions during the 2009 winter resulted in weather-related problems being the leading cause of non-predator deaths, accounting for 21.5 percent. Digestive problems (enterotoxemia, internal parasites and other digestive problems) followed for a combined 17.3 percent of non-predator deaths.
ASI Secretary/Treasurer Clint Krebs (Ore.), chair of the Re-build the Sheep Inventory Committee, relayed that his group working on increasing sheep production is well aware that predators create a key shortage of lamb production in America. "Maintaining control tools and increasing predator management around the nation is a topic at each of our committee meetings, and industry reports such as this support our continued work to control losses," Krebs stated.
Detailed losses by predator type are available for Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Utah and Wyoming. This information is provided through state-level funding and can be found by accessing the NASS home page at www.nass.usda.gov and going to the individual state's Web site.