WASHINGTON – The United States sheep and lamb inventory on Jan. 1, 2014 declined 2 percent to 5.21 million head compared to 2013, the US Department of Agriculture's National Agricultural Statistics Service reported.

Inventory of breeding sheep was down 2 percent to 3.98 million head compared to a year ago, NASS said. Ewes one year old and older totaled 3.07 million head, a 2 percent decline from 2013. Market lambs were 94 percent of the total market inventory.

NASS said 25 percent of market lambs were less than 65 lbs., while 11 percent were 65-84 lbs. Twenty-four percent were 85 - 105 lbs., and 34 percent were more than 105 lbs., NASS said. Market sheep comprised the remaining 6 percent of total market inventory.

The 2013 lamb declined 2 percent to 3.37 million head, NASS reported. The 2013 lambing rate was down 2 percent to 107 lambs per 100 ewes one year old and older on Jan. 1, 2013.

Sheep death loss totaled 225,000 head a year ago, representing a decrease of 2 percent from 2012, according to NASS. Lamb death loss eased 1 percent to 360,000 head in 2013 from 365,000 head in 2012.