ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — As 2013 wraps up for sheep producers,
they begin to look toward 2014 and what the year potentially will hold for the
Peter Orwick, the executive director of the American Sheep
Industry, which serves as a trade association for sheep farmers and represents
46 state associations, noted that the lamb market, in particular, as well as
feeder lambs, is looking positive for producers.
Around Labor Day, he said, the lamb market took a drastic
jump up in prices, when the price per pound increased by 80 cents.
The rise in prices, Orwick added, came at a vital time
because producers needed the increase to cover the cost of production, which had
been rising in the past few years.
“At Labor Day, there was an all new crop of lambs,” he said,
adding that the sudden positive change in price actually more than covered the
price of production for market lambs.
Orwick noted that another driving factor helping producers
with production costs is this year’s excellent corn crop.
During 2012-2013, due to the drought, there was a huge
increase in feed costs, as well as inputs.
“What one was paying for hay, small grains were that high
almost that high at market, too,” he said.
Orwick added that in 2013 the market overcorrected and the
cost of production for lambs was less.
The executive director stressed that he does believe had the
sheep industry not seen a turnaround in live market lamb prices in September and
October that the industry would have lost some of its producers.