An analysis of the present and future market for lamb with particular reference to Oregon Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/9306t2147

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  • The purpose of this study was to evaluate the demand and price characteristics for lamb in the US and Oregon. The primary objective was to estimate coefficients for three variables in a demand function for lamb, and these variables were the production of lamb, the production of substitute meats, and an income factor. Two secondary objectives were to determine the influence of imported mutton on the price of lamb, and to consider the future trend in the price of lamb. The analysis consisted of two parts, the development of a single equation demand function for lamb and the formation of a structural model of the sheep industry. In both cases the price of lamb was taken as a dependent variable, and price flexibility coefficients were estimated for the other variables. The flexibility coefficient for the production of lamb was estimated to be 0.88 in the single equation and -1.22 in the structural model. The structural flexibility was considered to be the best estimate as the validity of this coefficient did not depend on the assumption that the quantity of lamb produced was determined independently of the price. There were indications that the current price of lamb did influence the quantity produced. The conclusion reached was that the price was slightly flexible to changes in lamb production. The flexibility coefficient for the production of substitute meats was -1.11 in the single equation and -1.18 in the structural model. The high flexibility coefficient indicates that the level of production of substitute meats is important in determining the price of lamb. The flexibility coefficient for the income variable was +0.20 in the single equation and +0.42 in the structural model. Both estimates show a positive inflexible relationship with the price. To evaluate the impact of imports on the price of lamb it was found necessary to estimate the annual production of mutton in the US, as no data give this information directly. A variable for the total quantity of mutton was included in the single equation demand function. The price decline associated with the increase of imports was estimated to be small. Although the total quantity of mutton increased by 39 percent between 1958 and 1959, over 93 percent of the decline in price was attributed to other variables. The flexibility coefficient for the production of lamb in Oregon was estimated to be -0.54. This indicates a greater inflexibility of the lamb price than was found for the US. A higher flexibility of the price was associated with the production of lamb in California. This indicated that California provides an important outlet for the marketing of lamb from Oregon. The production of substitute meats and the income variable have expanded consistently throughout the period of the analysis. The net effect of these two variables was estimated from the structural model to cause a decrease in the price of lamb of $0.67/cwt each year. However, the model indicates that producers tend to reduce the size of the breeding flock in response to a decline in price. This reduction and the decrease in the size of the lamb crop that would follow are expected to partially offset the price decline. The conclusion reached is that lamb prices can only be maintained at the present level if the size of the breeding flock decreases.
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