American sheep ranchers appear poised to modestly expand their herds, enticed by favorable weather and improved grazing throughout much of the nation in 2013. Strong prices are helping, too--$160-$180/cwt. for a range of lamb weights in major markets, for example. Such prices are up sharply from a year ago, and they are likely to stay strong because imports from New Zealand and Australia, which supply more than half of the U.S. lamb meat, are expected to slip a little this year. Also, the recently slow slaughter pace suggests this month's U.S. Department of Agriculture sheep inventory will show more ewes than a year ago, pointing to an uptick in lamb births for 2014.
Reprinted from Kiplinger Ag Letter