THE U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has released the fourth descriptive report from its "Sheep 2011" study: "Part IV: Changes in Health & Production Practices in the U.S. Sheep Industry, 1996-2011."
The report was produced by the National Animal Health Monitoring System (NAHMS).
The NAHMS "Sheep 2011" study was conducted in 22 of the nation's major sheep-producing states and marks the first time in 10 years that NAHMS took an in-depth look at the U.S. sheep industry.
APHIS highlighted a few findings from the report, including:
* Hair sheep accounted for the greatest change in the type of sheep breeds on U.S. sheep operations. In 1996, only 1.0% of U.S. sheep operations owned hair sheep, compared with 4.6% in 2001 and 21.7% 2011.
* Ownership of sheep primarily for meat production increased from 60.7% of operations in 2001 to 81.6% in 2011.
* In 2011, 81.5% of operations used at least one flock identification method, compared with just 27.4% in 2001.
* Breeding ewes out of season was more common in 2011, at 24.5%, compared to 12.1% of breeding operations in 2001.
* Composting accounted for the biggest change in carcass disposal methods, with 6.9% of operations composting carcasses in 2001 versus 26.5% in 2011.
* Nearly twice the percentage of operations vaccinated new additions prior to arrival at the operation in 2011 than in 2001, at 70.1% versus 35.6%, respectively.