1967 Sheep Summary

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A sheep enterprise offers an opportunity for the efficient utilization of available roughage and pasture. It has low labor requirements. A minimum investment in buildings and equipment is required. The sheep enterprise is usually a supplemental enterprise on New York farms. The 1964 Census of Agriculture reported 2,981 New York farms with sheep. More than 50 percent of these farms reported less than 25 sheep and lambs of all ages. Eleven percent of the farms had over 100 sheep and lambs, five of these farms reporting over 1,000 head. There have been no recent data available on costs and returns for sheep enterprises on New York farms. Previous economic studies have centered around relatively small flocks. Little economic information is available on sheep enterprises from other "farm flock" states. It is difficult to arrive at accurate data on New York sheep enterprises since they are a minor enterprise on most farms. In order to obtain information on some larger commercial flocks, a small group of farmers were enlisted in a 1967 Sheep Farm Management Project. The farms included in this project had 75 ewes or more. There were 12 complete records submitted, but one is not included in the group analysis because of unusual circumstances surrounding the enterprise during 1967. The information presented in this bulletin does not represent the average of all New York farms with a ewe flock, but is representative of a group of farmers who were interested enough in the ewe flock enterprise to keep records and provide the necessary information. Farmers involved were from the counties of Livingston, Ontario, Orleans, Steuben and Yates. Cooperative Extension Agents Peter Kanouse, Larry Davis, Sidney Cleveland, Theodore Markham and Gilbert Smith assisted. Professor Warren Brannon, extension sheep specialist with the Department of Animal Science, also cooperated in the project. This bulletin reports what 11 farmers did in 1967. It is hoped this will also be used as a guide by other sheep producers concerned with doing a good job of managing a ewe flock enterprise. The four producers obtaining the highest labor incomes per ewe were group analyzed, as were the four receiving the lowest labor returns. Results of this analysis is reported along with the 11 farm averages. By comparing your operation with others, certain management weaknesses can be discovered and management goals formed. Records (both production and cost and returns), are a key to managing a sheep enterprise for efficiency and profit.

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Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, Cornell University



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