Agriculture and Food Processing - Commodities: Livestock


Lamb Production | Feedlot Industry | Export | Tradition | Contacts

Sheep on PastureThe Manitoba Advantage

Sheep have been part of the Manitoba landscape since the province was first settled two centuries ago.

Since then, Manitoba has become a natural choice for both a sheep industry and a sheep/lamb feedlot industry and today, is considered to be the hub of the lamb industry in Canada.

The large agricultural landmass in Manitoba supplies local producers with an abundance of high-quality, locally sourced feed and Manitoba's central location -- the geographic centre of Canada -- receives excellent service by road, rail and air and is close to the major slaughtering facilities to the east and south.

These natural strengths have provided Manitoba producers with a solid foundation upon which to build a strong, growth-oriented commercial sheep industry.

Lamb Production

Manitoba's sheep and lamb industry is the fifth largest in Canada, which represents approximately 7% of the national flock. 

Each year Manitoba produces approximately 6% of the national lamb production -- a level of production that has been increasing steadily over the last ten years.

Manitoba has over 730 sheep operations with the average size of the Manitoba farm flock being just under 100 ewes -- although several operations in the 200-500 ewe flock exist, as well as three operations with more than 1,000 ewes.

The most common breeds to Manitoba operations include Suffolk, Dorset, Canadian Arcott, Rideau Arcott, Hampshire, Columbia and Rambouillet.  Many other breeds can be found in Manitoba as well as many of the common crossbred combinations used in commercial applications.

Sheep on FeedFeedlot Industry

Manitoba's sheep/lamb feedlot industry is actually much larger than the province's lamb production and Manitoba has the largest feedlot operation in Canada.

The success of the feedlot industry results from the proximity to the slaughtering facilities in eastern Canada and the United States and the abundance of low-cost, high-quality feed.

Each year Manitoba imports nearly 53,000 sheep and lambs from western Canada and the United States.

Manitoba's feedlots then bolster the diets of these animals using healthy rations of locally grown feed before exporting the majority of these animals for processing.

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Each year nearly all of the imported animals and over 50% of Manitoba's homegrown lambs are shipped out of province for sale, slaughter and processing.

Over half of the exported animals are shipped to eastern Canada, greater than 40% to the United States and the remainder to western Canada.

Manitoba producers always have a small part of their herd slaughtered and processed locally at one of the several provincially inspected processing facilities. These facilities must meet the rigid inspection and sanitary standards as set out by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency's (CFIA) food safety enforcement program (FSEP). These facilities provide products only for the local market.

Every year Manitoba sheep producers also produce in excess of 67,000 lbs. of wool.

The wool varies in quality and quantity depending on the breed and much of which is exported for both textile and industrial use to the Canadian Cooperative Wool Growers.

Sheep Flock Close-upTradition

Manitoba producers have a long tradition of raising sheep.

Today, they have a growing reputation for the quality and success of their feedlot operations, and are noted for their sound management expertise.

The province is recognized for its supply of top-quality feed, central location and a commitment to meet the customer demand domestically and internationally.

Contact: Address: Other Links:

Mila Ruiz Turiaf

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Tel:  204-945-2466
Fax: 204-957-1763
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Manitoba Trade & Investment
1100 - 259 Portage Avenue
Winnipeg, Manitoba,
Canada R3B 3P4

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