Sheep industry facing ‘perfect storm’ of high prices & shrinking supply | TSLN.com

Back to: News

Sheep industry facing ‘perfect storm’ of high prices & shrinking supply

With the world’s supply of sheep and wool nearly depleted, the sheep industry in the U.S. is seeing record prices, said a lamb feeder and range sheep producer from Kaycee, WY. Bob Harlan, who has been a long-time western states sheep and lamb buyer, discussed opportunities in the sheep industry during the 2011 Cattlemen’s Conference in Douglas, WY, last week.

Harlan calls the current situation of the sheep market “the perfect storm.”

“In the sheep industry, you must first look at the current world supply of sheep,” he explained. “Australia has been in an extended drought, and in a shrinking supply situation has slaughtered many of its replacements. The supply in Australia is 50 percent of what it was 10 years ago. There is nothing left to slaughter there,” he added.

In New Zealand, a country that used to be the second largest sheep supplier behind Australia, many sheep operations are being converted over to dairy operations. “In a shrinking supply, replacements are slaughtered, which causes the kill numbers to seem large,” Harlan said. “Then, in 2010, there was a massive storm in New Zealand that killed a million sheep in one week.”

In America, the lamb slaughter numbers have dwindled every year, Harlan continued. From January through June of 2010, slaughter numbers were at 1,056,549. During that same period of 2011, that number dropped 14 percent to 903,599.

Harlan said as a result of dwindling numbers in the U.S., the four major sheep packers are having trouble getting enough through-put each week. “They are driving the feeder lamb market upward just to get enough animals to put through their plants,” he explained. “If there is an increased replacement retention by producers, the lamb supply could shorten even more.”

With the world’s supply of sheep and wool nearly depleted, the sheep industry in the U.S. is seeing record prices, said a lamb feeder and range sheep producer from Kaycee, WY. Bob Harlan, who has been a long-time western states sheep and lamb buyer, discussed opportunities in the sheep industry during the 2011 Cattlemen’s Conference in Douglas, WY, last week.

Harlan calls the current situation of the sheep market “the perfect storm.”

“In the sheep industry, you must first look at the current world supply of sheep,” he explained. “Australia has been in an extended drought, and in a shrinking supply situation has slaughtered many of its replacements. The supply in Australia is 50 percent of what it was 10 years ago. There is nothing left to slaughter there,” he added.

In New Zealand, a country that used to be the second largest sheep supplier behind Australia, many sheep operations are being converted over to dairy operations. “In a shrinking supply, replacements are slaughtered, which causes the kill numbers to seem large,” Harlan said. “Then, in 2010, there was a massive storm in New Zealand that killed a million sheep in one week.”

In America, the lamb slaughter numbers have dwindled every year, Harlan continued. From January through June of 2010, slaughter numbers were at 1,056,549. During that same period of 2011, that number dropped 14 percent to 903,599.

Harlan said as a result of dwindling numbers in the U.S., the four major sheep packers are having trouble getting enough through-put each week. “They are driving the feeder lamb market upward just to get enough animals to put through their plants,” he explained. “If there is an increased replacement retention by producers, the lamb supply could shorten even more.”

With the world’s supply of sheep and wool nearly depleted, the sheep industry in the U.S. is seeing record prices, said a lamb feeder and range sheep producer from Kaycee, WY. Bob Harlan, who has been a long-time western states sheep and lamb buyer, discussed opportunities in the sheep industry during the 2011 Cattlemen’s Conference in Douglas, WY, last week.

Harlan calls the current situation of the sheep market “the perfect storm.”

“In the sheep industry, you must first look at the current world supply of sheep,” he explained. “Australia has been in an extended drought, and in a shrinking supply situation has slaughtered many of its replacements. The supply in Australia is 50 percent of what it was 10 years ago. There is nothing left to slaughter there,” he added.

In New Zealand, a country that used to be the second largest sheep supplier behind Australia, many sheep operations are being converted over to dairy operations. “In a shrinking supply, replacements are slaughtered, which causes the kill numbers to seem large,” Harlan said. “Then, in 2010, there was a massive storm in New Zealand that killed a million sheep in one week.”

In America, the lamb slaughter numbers have dwindled every year, Harlan continued. From January through June of 2010, slaughter numbers were at 1,056,549. During that same period of 2011, that number dropped 14 percent to 903,599.

Harlan said as a result of dwindling numbers in the U.S., the four major sheep packers are having trouble getting enough through-put each week. “They are driving the feeder lamb market upward just to get enough animals to put through their plants,” he explained. “If there is an increased replacement retention by producers, the lamb supply could shorten even more.”

With the world’s supply of sheep and wool nearly depleted, the sheep industry in the U.S. is seeing record prices, said a lamb feeder and range sheep producer from Kaycee, WY. Bob Harlan, who has been a long-time western states sheep and lamb buyer, discussed opportunities in the sheep industry during the 2011 Cattlemen’s Conference in Douglas, WY, last week.

Harlan calls the current situation of the sheep market “the perfect storm.”

“In the sheep industry, you must first look at the current world supply of sheep,” he explained. “Australia has been in an extended drought, and in a shrinking supply situation has slaughtered many of its replacements. The supply in Australia is 50 percent of what it was 10 years ago. There is nothing left to slaughter there,” he added.

In New Zealand, a country that used to be the second largest sheep supplier behind Australia, many sheep operations are being converted over to dairy operations. “In a shrinking supply, replacements are slaughtered, which causes the kill numbers to seem large,” Harlan said. “Then, in 2010, there was a massive storm in New Zealand that killed a million sheep in one week.”

In America, the lamb slaughter numbers have dwindled every year, Harlan continued. From January through June of 2010, slaughter numbers were at 1,056,549. During that same period of 2011, that number dropped 14 percent to 903,599.

Harlan said as a result of dwindling numbers in the U.S., the four major sheep packers are having trouble getting enough through-put each week. “They are driving the feeder lamb market upward just to get enough animals to put through their plants,” he explained. “If there is an increased replacement retention by producers, the lamb supply could shorten even more.”