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Lamb and sheep market update

Farm cash receipts for lamb operations are up, and prices continue to strengthen.

See event listings and more articles in this edition of Agri-News: July 4, 2022 issue

“In 2021, national farm cash receipts (FCR) for lamb operations, as reported by Statistics Canada, reached $227.6 million, nearly 11% increase over 2020,” says Ann Boyda, provincial livestock market analyst with the Alberta government. “Alberta FCR for lamb reached $32.1 million, an increase of 7.8% over 2020. 2021 represented a record high year for lamb FCR. Alberta’s share of the national FCR remained steady at 14%.”

On February 28, 2022, Statistics Canada released the livestock inventory estimates for sheep on farms in Canada and the provinces (as of January 1, 2022). Sheep and lamb inventories rose year over year for the first time since January 2018. Alberta reported 148,100 head on farms, up 8.1% compared to 2021. Inventories increased for all classes of animals except rams, which remained flat.

Image 1. January 1, 2022 sheep inventories
Image of January 1, 2022 Sheep Inventories
Source: Statistics Canada

The greatest increase of 20.4% and 11.9% in inventory over 2021 came from replacement lambs and market lambs, respectively. Alberta ewe inventory represented 48% of the total ewe inventory for Western Canada.

The Alberta lamb market continues to strengthen with 2021 average prices, based off the rail, averaging $286.78/head for a 120 lb live weight animal. This is a 10% increase over 2020. Year to date prices for 2022 continue to increase to an average of $325/head, a further 13.3% increase over 2021 average.

Image 2. Alberta estimated average yearly 120 lb market lamb price
image of Estimated Average Yearly 120 lb Market Lamb Price in Alberta

“Drought and rising feed costs are impacting all livestock markets,” says Boyda. “Recent June rains have alleviated some growing concerns of this year’s crop and forage production.”

The Farm Input Price Index (FIPI) is an indicator of the change in the price of farm inputs faced by farmers. In Alberta, average growth in the FIPI was 9% over 2021. However, certain inputs rose at significantly higher rates, including machinery fuel (43%), fertilizer (29%), commercial feed (25%), prepared feed (22%) and feed grain (30%).

Hay prices were nearly 22% higher in 2021 versus 2020 and recent average hay prices for April 2022 of $278/ton were 88.7% higher than prices for the same month in 2021. Feed barley prices rose by over 50% in 2021 versus 2020.

“Globally, major challenges for all markets include global uncertainty regarding the spread of the Delta variant, pandemic-related disruption to supply chains, increased freight costs and a global shortage of labour,” says Boyda.

For more information, see:

Livestock statistics


For more information, connect with Anna Boyda at 780-422-4088.

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