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Wisconsin continues to lead the nation on milk goat population

Feb. 11, 2014 | 0 comments


According to the goat inventory taken for Jan. 1, 2014, Wisconsin continues to have the highest milk goat population of any state. Its total of 46,000 head was the same as a year ago.

The report by the National Agricultural Statistics Service indicated that California's milk goat population fell by 2,500 head to 38,000 during the past year while Iowa added 1,000 for a total of 30,000 and Texas had 2,000 more for a total of 20,000.

For the United States as a whole, the Jan. 1 milk goat population was reported to be 355,000 head. This was down by 5,000 from a year earlier.

Wisconsin changes

Wisconsin increased its population of meat and other goats by 5,000 during 2013 for a total of 22,000 at the start of this year. With the number of Angora goats remaining at 1,000, the state's goat population was 69,000 at the beginning of 2014.

Texas continued to dominate in the nation's goat population with 965,000, including 870,000 — an increase of 20,000 — in the meat and other goat category. The state also has 75,000 Angora goats. California has a total of 128,400 goats.

Across the United States, the goat population on Jan. 1 was reported to be 2.761 million head. This is a decrease of 50,000 from a year earlier.

Sheep statistics

For sheep and lambs, Wisconsin's total was down by 1,000 to 83,000 for the year ending on Dec. 31. This included 69,000 breeding animals, up by 1,000, and 14,000 market animals — down by 2,000. According to the 2007 Census of Agriculture (the 2012 census data is due for release this year), Wisconsin had 2,816 sites where sheep were raised.

Wisconsin ranks quite low among the states for its sheep and lamb population. States with much higher numbers as of Jan. 1 were Texas with 740,000 (up by 40,000), California with 550,000 (down by 20,000), Colorado with 365,000 (down by 70,000), Wyoming with 355,000 (down by 20,000), South Dakota with 270,000 (down by 5,000), Iowa with 155,000 (down by 20,000), and Minnesota with 135,000 (no change).

At the start of 2014, the nation's sheep and lamb inventory stood at 5.21 million head — down by 125,000 from a year earlier. Breeding stock was down by 95,000 head to 3.88 million and the total of market animals was down by 30,000 to 1.33 million.

Wool market

The numbers were down across the board for wool production in Wisconsin during 2013. The number of sheep shorn fell by 4,000 to 59,000, weight per fleece was down by .2-pound to 6.8, total production was down by 40,000 pounds to 400,000, and a price drop of 5 cents per pound to 70 cents put the total value for the year at $280,000 (down by $50,000).

Wisconsin's average per pound selling price for fleeces paled in comparison to the $1.76 in Texas, $1.45 in California, $1.57 in South Dakota, $1.90 in Colorado, $2.10 in Nevada, and $2.20 in Montana.

Even with those prices, the sale value of wool in the United States during 2013 was down by five percent from 2012 to $39.213 million. This was due to combination of a drop of 7 cents per pound to $1.45 and a 50,000 reduction in the number of shorn head to 3.7 million while the average weight per fleece remained at 7.3 pounds.

The 790,000 pounds of mohair clipped from 140,500 goats and kids in 2013 had a total value of $3.36 million. The mohair price averaged $4.25 per pound. The average weight per clip was 5.6 pounds.

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