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- CRB Fundamentals - 2008 Commodity Articles

Sheep and Lambs

Sheep and lambs are raised for both their wool and meat. In countries that have high wool production, there is also demand for sheep and lamb meat due to the easy availability. Production levels have declined in New Zealand and Australia, but that has been counteracted by a substantial increase in China.

Prices - The average monthly price received by farmers for lambs in the U.S. in 2007 rose by +3.2% to 97.10 cents per pound, but remained well below the record high of $1.11 per pound seen in 2005. The average monthly price received by U.S. farmers for sheep in 2007 fell by -11.3% to 30.58 cents per pound, but remained above the 12-year low of 29.03 cents in 2002. The average monthly wholesale price of slaughter lambs (choice) at San Angelo, Texas in 2007 rose by +9.0% to 84.28 cents per pound, but remained below the 2005 record high of 97.76 cents per pound.

Supply - World sheep and goat numbers in 2004 (latest data available) rose by +2.1% to a new record high of 1.851 billion. The world's largest producers of sheep and goats are China with 18% of world production in 2004, India (10%), Australia (6%), and New Zealand (2%). The number of sheep and lambs on U.S. farms in 2007 (Jan 1) fell -0.7% to 6.185 million head. The U.S. states with the most sheep and lambs were Texas (with 17% of the U.S. total), California (10%), Wyoming (7%), Colorado (7%), and South Dakota (6%).




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