Report from USDA Sheep Study

USDA’s National Animal Health Monitoring System (NAHMS) has posted the third and fourth reports from the Sheep 2011 study: Part III: Health and Management Practices on U.S. Sheep Operations, 2011, and Part IV: Changes in Health and Production Practices in the U.S. Sheep Industry, 1996-2011. The Sheep 2011 study was conducted in 22 of the Nation’s major sheep-producing States, covering 70.1 percent of U.S. farms with ewes and 85.5 percent of the U.S. ewe inventory.

Some highlights from Part III:

·         Small and medium operations had a higher expected lambing rate (1.53 and 1.47, respectively) than large operations (1.23).

·         Nearly all operations (92.0 percent) had an APHIS-assigned flock identification number.

·         Toxoplasmosis and coxiellosis (Q fever) are common causes of abortion storms in sheep flocks, yet producers on 28.5 and 52.0 percent of operations had not heard of toxoplasmosis and Q fever, respectively.

·         During 2010, 69.0 percent of operations administered oral, injectable, or topical antibiotics to lambs or ewes to treat any disease.

Highlights from Part IV:

·         In 1996 only 1.0 percent of U.S. sheep operations owned hair sheep, compared with 4.6 percent in 2011 and 21.7 percent in 2011.

·         Ownership of sheep primarily for meat production increased from 60.7 percent of operations in 2001 to 81.6 percent in 2011.

·         6.9 percent of operations composted carcasses in 2001 compared with 26.5 percent in 2011.

·         Approximately twice the percentage of operations consulted a veterinarian for disease diagnosis, disease prevention, and lambing problems in 2011 than in 2001.

The reports are available on the World Wide Web at

As always we encourage you to send comments and questions and to share this message with others involved in the sheep industry.

Anne L. Berry
Technical Information Specialist
National Animal Health Monitoring System
2150 Centre Ave., Bldg. B, MS 2E7
Fort Collins, CO 80526-8117
Phone: 970-494-7243
Fax: 970-494-7229



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