Alberta lamb and sheep market update

  From the December 17, 2018 issue of Agri-News
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 Strong domestic demand and industry growth continues to provide stability for Alberta’s lamb market. Jason Wood, provincial livestock market analyst with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry, analyzes the numbers as of December 12, 2018.

Taking a look at Alberta’s sheep industry inventory shows that expansion has been challenging,” says Wood. “When looking specifically at female numbers, we see that ewes have declined 30 per cent since 2002 and lambs retained for breeding each year have declined 45 per cent. “

However, Wood says that has turned around during the last two years. “Alberta ewe numbers have increased by four per cent, or about 3,500 head while retained lambs for breeding have marginally increased about one per cent during the same period.”

“Two consecutive years of increases in the breeding flock is a positive sign of strength in the industry, with market stability being one supporting factor,” he adds.

“In 2018, the estimated price for a 120 lb. Alberta slaughter lamb is averaging more than $244 per head, up 3.4 per cent from the same period in 2017,” notes Wood. “The average price in 2018 is 24 per cent higher than the 5-year average.”

Looking back a few more years, Wood says that the year to date estimated average price in Alberta’s slaughter lamb market is more than 40 per cent higher than it was in 2014.

For feeder lambs, the year to date average provincial price is about 7 per cent lower than in 2017. “As we have seen in other livestock feeding industries, higher feed costs have been one factor affecting feeder markets.”

Wood says that global lamb prices have rallied in many countries in 2018, as demand for lamb and mutton continues to expand. “Demand is growing through the increased use of lamb in the food service sector and continued growth of the middle class.”

“The increasing popularity of lamb as a protein choice suggests that we should continue to see support for both domestic and global lamb markets in 2019.”

For more information about Alberta’s lamb and sheep market, contact Jason Wood at 780-422-3122.

Jason Wood

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This document is maintained by Christine Chomiak.
This information published to the web on December 12, 2018.