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Sheep report shows small decline

WOONSOCKET, S.D. -- Rick Tobin, of Woonsocket, S.D., farms along State Highway 281. His 160-head cattle herd is his main enterprise, but he farms and has 100 white face ewes.

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Sheep were done lambing about Feb. 10 on the Rick Tobin farm near Woonsocket, S.D. Photo taken Jan. 29, 2015, east and south of Wessington Springs, S.D. (Mikkel Pates/FNS)

WOONSOCKET, S.D. - Rick Tobin, of Woonsocket, S.D., farms along State Highway 281. His 160-head cattle herd is his main enterprise, but he farms and has 100 white face ewes.
He sells market-ready sheep either in Platte, S.D., or Chamberlain, S.D.
“There’s not a lot of people getting into them,” Tobin said. “It ain’t real exciting to be a sheep man, but they’re not a lot of work. When you’re lambing, it’s work.”
A Jan. 30 report from the National Agricultural Statistics Service said South Dakota had 255,000 sheep and lambs, down 6 percent from last year and ranking seventh among the states in sheep numbers. The biggest states in sheep numbers are Texas, 720,000; California, 600,000; Colorado, 420,000; Wyoming, 345,000; and Utah, 290,000.
Mike Caskey is a lamb and wool program instructor for the Pipestone (Minn.) Lamb and Wool Program of the Minnesota West Community and Technical College. He said though Minnesota numbers have dropped 4 percent in the past year, he thinks the biggest declines have come in the northern third or half of the state, and in the southeast, where producers have competed with predators.
“In my part of the world (southwest Minnesota, eastern South Dakota), I’d say the numbers would be up 1 percent to 2 percent - maybe higher,” he said. There is probably a decline in smaller or mid-sized producers, who tend to jump in or out because of input costs, he said.
Here are NASS report details for this region:
South Dakota: 255,000 sheep and lambs, down 6 percent from 2014; breeding sheep, 200,000, down 5 percent; market sheep, 55,000, down 8 percent; ewes, 162,000, down 6 percent; rams, 6,000, down 14 percent; replacement lambs, 32,000, up 3 percent.
Montana: 215,000 sheep and lambs, down 2 percent from 2014; breeding sheep, 73,000, up 1 percent; total market sheep, 22,000, unchanged. Montana had 153,000 ewes, down 1 percent from 2014; rams were constant at 6,000 head; replacement lambs, were 34,003 head, down 8 percent.
North Dakota: 64,000 sheep and lambs, down 3 percent from 2014; 50,000 breeding sheep, unchanged from a year earlier; market sheep, 14,000, down 13 percent. The state had 42,000 breeding ewes, up 2 percent; a constant 2,000 rams; and 6,000 replacement lambs, down 14 percent.
U.S.: 5.28 million sheep, up 1 percent from 2014; breeding sheep, 3.935 million, up 1 percent; market sheep, 1.345 million, unchanged. The nation had 3.11 million ewes, up 1 percent. There were 175,000 rams, equal to 2014. Replacement lambs had increased 2 percent to 650,000.

Related Topics: AGRICULTURE
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