Red-Meat Production Down
According to the U.S. Department of National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), red-meat production ? beef, veal, pork, lamb and mutton ? in the United States total 45.6 billion pounds. That is 2-percent below the 2003 production.
The 2004 commercial sheep and lamb slaughter was down 5 percent from 2003 to 2.84 million head, with 94.3 percent comprised by federal inspection. Although production was down, the average live weight was up two lbs. from 2003 to 136 lbs.
There were 825 slaughtering plants under federal inspection on Jan. 1, 2005, compared to 855 last year. Of those, only 500 plants slaughtered sheep or lambs in 2004 and four of them comprised about 60 percent of the total head.
Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska and Texas accounted for almost 52 percent of the U.S. commercial red-meat production in 2004, similar to 2003, NASS reported.
Saltbush could Produce Long-Life Lamb
According to the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) in Australia, a high-vitamin count in saltbush could help boost the supermarket shelf-life of lamb.
While saltbush is used as a sheep-feed supplement by grazers, the CSIRO has also discovered it is high in vitamin E.
Scientist David Masters says the plant could help produce fitter sheep, and longer lasting lamb.
?The main problem with the deterioration of meat on the shelf is that you get oxidation of some of the compounds of the meat, and they change color from a nice red color to a sort of brown color, which is a significant problem in storing meat on the shelf,? he says.
Prices Up for Sheep
Cash receipts from the marketing of sheep and lambs in 2004 were $521 million, up 3 percent from 2003, according to the Income Summary: Prices Up for Cattle, Hogs and Sheep by CattleNetwork.com. The summary also states that the marketing decreased 6 percent to 572 million lbs. The U.S. annual-average price per 100-lbs. live weight for sheep increased from $34.90 in 2003 to $38.80 in 2004, while for lambs, the annual-average price increased $94.40 to $101.