What is the Cost of Raising Sheep?


The Livestock Marketing Information Center worked with the American Sheep Industry Association (ASI) to provide baseline estimates regarding the on-farm/ranch costs of producing lambs. Best-estimate industry parameters were used to generate regionally representative budgets.

The U.S. Baseline Lamb Cost of Production Analysis used Wyoming, North Dakota, Texas, and Kentucky, to represent statistics for their respective regions. Wyoming and Montana fall in the Western region while North and South Dakota are in the Northcentral region.

The updated analysis shows that Wyoming and North Dakota receive higher feeder lamb price returns per ewe than the national average of $12.66. The results also show the top five highest variable costs for 2018 were hired labor and pasture at 19% each,  followed by hay at 11%, fuel, lube, repairs, utilities 9%, and  operator/family labor also at 9%.

ASI says it needs to be recognized that each sheep producer’s operation is different, based on environment, production goals, breeding goals and year-to-year market conditions. While these budgets are meant to be representative, it is not appropriate to assume they have fully captured the risk that sheep producers face on a day-to-day basis. Instead, the majority of value these baseline budgets provide is the comparison year-to-year and through time, from a percent change standpoint instead of a point value perspective.


American Sheep Industry Association

Northern Ag Network

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