2012 Sheep Numbers Reported
February 1, 2013

The sheep and lamb inventory in the United States on Jan. 1 totaled 5.34 million head, down 1 percent from 2012. Breeding sheep inventory decreased to 3.98 million head on Jan. 1, down 1 percent from 4.0 million head on Jan. 1, 2012. Ewes one year old and older, at 3.14 million head, were 1 percent below last year. Market sheep and lambs on Jan. 1, totaled 1.36 million head, down 1 percent from Jan. 1, 2012. Market lambs comprised 94 percent of the total market inventory. Twenty-three percent were lambs less than 65 pounds, 12 percent were 65 – 84 pounds, 22 percent were 85 – 105 pounds, and 37 percent were over 105 pounds. Market sheep comprised the remaining 6 percent of total market inventory. 
The 2012 lambing rate was 109 lambs per 100 ewes one year old and older. 
“The report is better than predicted by the economists during the 2013 American Sheep Industry Association (ASI)/National Lamb Feeders Association Convention last week,” said Peter Orwick, ASI executive Director. “A decrease in numbers was expected due to the worst drought in the United States in the last 50 years.” 
Shorn wool production during 2012 was 28.5 million pounds, down 3 percent from 2011. Sheep and lambs shorn totaled 3.93 million head, also down 2 percent from 2011. The average price paid for wool sold in 2012 was $1.53 per pound for a total value of 43.6 million dollars, down 11 percent from 48.9 million dollars in 2011. 
The report is available at http://usda.mannlib.cornell.edu/MannUsda/viewDocumentInfo.do?documentID=1145.