Prices for lamb at record highs

“Agflation” remains strong.

The price of lambs is up 58% to $2.20/pound, a record high. Wool prices are also at 20-year highs.

While demand for lamb has been strong, supply has suffered, especially amongst Australian and New Zealander farmers. In “Sheep growers benefit from low supply, high demand“, Yahoo! Finance reports through AP:

“Australia has about 70 million sheep, down from 170 million 20 years ago. The drop has been blamed on the ending of a government support program and extended drought followed by recent flooding…In New Zealand, sheep numbers have dropped from about 70 million to 40 million, and many producers have switched to dairies and beef production.”

The American Sheep Industry Association has an aggressive plan to rebuild the inventory of sheep and capitalize on current market conditions:

“The campaign to be launched in 2011, titled 2+2+2= Rebuild, asks that each producer increase the size of their operation by two ewes per operation or by two ewes per 100 by 2014, increase the average birthrate per ewe to two lambs per year and increase the harvested lamb crop rate by 2 percent. This program provides an attainable, challenging, measurable and realistic plan for increasing sheep numbers in the United States and maintains jobs and infrastructure – past studies have shown that for every 1,000 head of ewes, 18 jobs are created. Importantly, the program will provide approximately 315,000 more lambs and 2 million pounds of wool for the industry to market.”

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