Forestry and Agrifoods
In 2006, farm cash receipts from sheep and lambs was $542,000. Forty eight hundred lambs were produced at a rate of 1.3 lambs per ewe. Sheep population has decreased from 100,000 animals pre-confederation to a low of 4,000. This decline in numbers can be partially attributed to roaming dogs, changes in the Livestock Act and a reduction in consumption.
There are opportunities for sheep production in this province. Marginal land can be utilized as sheep pasture as 80 percent of feed requirements can be met by forages, so sheep operations are not overly dependant on imported feeds. As well, a sheep operation can be started with a relatively modest capital investment. Newfoundland Local sheep may have potential as a low input breed of sheep suited to harsh environments and there is potential in the province to increase lamb production per ewe.
The marketing period for lambs and sheep can be extended throughout the year. Secondary processing of wool, hides and meat is creating some employment opportunities in rural parts of province. The sheep industry in the province has significant competition with fresh vacuum packed product from offshore. Traditional marketing results in most of the product being marketed in a short time frame. Predator problems can cause serious economic losses.
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