April 2014
Farm & Field

Bucking the Trend

Alabama Sheep and Goat Numbers Reverse National Trend

Our friends at National Agricultural Statistics Service, Agricultural Statistics Board, United States Department of Agriculture released new estimates earlier this year on national and state sheep and goat inventories. The overall downward trend continues, as it has been for several years, whereby many state inventories are at 2007-2008 levels. Alabama reversed the trend, but inventories reflect years gone by. Good news for sellers is market prices increased significantly during February into early spring.

Sheep and lamb inventories in the United States on Jan. 1, 2014, totaled 5.21 million head, down 2 percent from 2013. Breeding sheep inventory decreased to 3.88 million head, down 2 percent from 3.98 million head. Ewes, 1-year-old and older, at 3.07 million head were 2 percent below last year. Market sheep and lambs totaled 1.33 million head, down 2 percent. Market lambs comprised 94 percent of the total market inventory. Twenty-five percent were lambs under 65 pounds, 11 percent were 65-84 pounds, 24 percent were 85-105 pounds and 34 percent were over 105 pounds. Market sheep comprised the remaining 6 percent of total market inventory.

Goat inventories in the United States on Jan. 1, 2014, totaled 2.76 million head, down 2 percent from 2013. Breeding goat inventory totaled 2.26 million head, down 3 percent. Does, 1-year-old and older, at 1.69 million head were 3 percent below last year’s number. Market goats and kids totaled 500,000 head, up 2 percent.

Kid crop for 2013 totaled 1.74 million head for all goats, down 3 percent from 2012.

Meat and all other goats totaled 2.28 million head on January 1, 2014, down 2 percent from 2013. Milk goat inventory was 355,000 head, down 1 percent.

Alabama & Tennessee sheep and goat inventories: For the first time in several years, Alabama and Tennessee sheep and goat inventories have reversed the national trend and actually increased. Sheep inventories actually increased in Tennessee; Alabama does not inventory sheep, so we have no idea regarding their trend in sheep. Alabama meat and other goat inventories actually increased by 42,000 in 2013 to 49,000 in 2014; a 17 percent increase. Milk goat inventories in Alabama remained the same at 35,000. Tennessee meat and other goat inventories increased from 114,000 in 2013 to 120,000 in 2014. Other neighboring states (Mississippi, Georgia and Florida) followed the national trend and showed decreases in meat and other goat inventories.

Robert Spencer is an Urban Regional Extension Specialist with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System.

Released January 31, 2014, by the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), Agricultural Statistics Board, United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Information can be found at: http://usda01.library.cornell.edu/usda/current/SheeGoat/SheeGoat-01-31-2014.pdf