According to a report from the Livestock Marketing Information Center (LMIC), the sheep and lamb industry is shaping up to have a record setting year for prices in 2021. This is news that pleases the American Sheep Industry Association (ASI). Feeder lamb prices have tracked above 2020 levels every week this year except for one week back in March.
In February, a record price was set for feeder lambs at $342 per cwt and prices are likely to average about $260 for the year. The average feeder lamb price was $192 per cwt in 2020. Slaughter lamb prices rose quickly to start the year and set a record price in early August at $268 per cwt. Since the peak, prices have moved slightly lower but were still above $220 per cwt.
According to LMIC, sheep and lamb slaughter this past year is likely to be above 2020 as year-to-date slaughter is tracking about 2 percent higher. Average dressed weights through mid-December are about 2.4 percent, or 1.6 lbs. lower than a year ago.
And while lamb production levels will likely be near last year, the record setting lamb prices have been driven by exceptional domestic demand. Per capita lamb consumption for 2021 is expected to be over 1.3 pounds per person for the year, which would be the highest level since the early 1990s.