Oneida County, NY (WIBX) - Cattle and calves are down, sheep and lambs are up and goat numbers remain unchanged in New York State. That's according to the latest United States Department of Agriculture report showing the state is down 1% in it's cattle count, and up 6% in the number of heads of sheep and lambs.

USDA Statistician, Joe Morse explains the drop in cattle count saying, "Due to the price of feed combined with the higher price for beef, people just weren't keeping them around as long so on January 1st you saw lower actual inventory numbers on farms than you would have seen in past years."

Morse said the increase in the number of sheep count is largely due to an interest in products such as sheep milk and cheese. He said there's been a steady increase in people consuming goat meat in the state and that's kept their inventory numbers steady.

Morse said the new figures don't necessarily signal bad news for the agricultural industry. "If you're a farmer in beef production then you're probably having a pretty good year and if you're into sheep or goat production I think they'll be able to say that their business is pretty stable," Morse said. According to the report New York cattle and calves totaled 1.4 million on January 1, 2011, which is a 1% decrease from the previous year's total. Sheep and lambs total 70,000; an increase of 6%, and the goat inventory count is at 30,000, which is unchanged from 2010 figures.

Nationwide the figures for cattle and calves is at 92.6 million and officials with the USDA say the current count is the lowest numbers since 1958 when it was at 91.2 million heads of cattle and calves. Across the country, sheep and lamb numbers dropped 2% and goat numbers are down 1%. For a detailed report click on the link: