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ASI RELEASE STATE OF THE SHEEP INDUSTRY REPORT, RECORD HIGH PRICES
Source: American Sheep Industry Association (ASI) news release

The sheep and lamb industry saw prices reach historic levels in 2021. The year of outstanding domestic demand for lamb is summarized in the 2021 Sheep Industry Review - a checkoff funded report commissioned by the American Lamb Board and compiled by the American Sheep Industry Association.

"The pandemic continued to bring uncertainty during 2021, which drove shifts in consumer food consumption and buying patterns," said ALB Chairman Peter Camino of Buffalo, Wyo. "Per capita lamb consumption was 1.36 pounds per person for 2021 - the highest level since the early 1990s. Gains in lamb consumption have been linked to the year-round availability of more lamb cuts in supermarkets and direct sales as a result of the pandemic."

Various factors on the supply side supported higher lamb prices. Persistent drought, higher feed costs and other production constraints - as well as strong slaughter ewe prices - resulted in significantly large mature sheep slaughter in 2021. The continuing downward trend in the American sheep flock has resulted in a smaller lamb crop and lamb supply. Additionally, cold storage inventories in 2021 were below year ago levels, which provided further support to lamb prices.

Although economic uncertainty continued in 2021 - with focus on price inflation and consumer response to higher prices for meat and other goods - the feeder and slaughter lamb prices saw gains of more than 40 percent in 2021. The wholesale lamb market also saw record highs in response to strong consumer demand and tighter available supplies.

Sheep and lamb inventory continued a declining trend, down 2 percent to 5.065 million head. Breeding sheep inventory registered at 3.71 million head, also down 2 percent from the previous year. Replacement prices posted large gains during the latter half of 2021, similar to live lamb and wholesale lamb price trends. Ewe prices all set new record levels in 2021.

To read the entire report click here.


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