News

NZ’s sheep numbers drop back to 1943 levels

Sheep Central, July 6, 2015

New Zealand’s sheep flock fell to 29.8 million head at 30 June 2014, down 3 percent on the previous year, Statistics NZ reported recently.

“The last time the sheep number was below 30 million was back in 1943,” agriculture statistics manager Neil Kelly said.

Sheep on Nithdale Station on New Zealand's North Island

Sheep on Nithdale Station on New Zealand’s North Island

Partly explaining the continued decline in sheep numbers, the nation’s dairy cattle herd increased 3pc last year to just under 6.7 million head, with increases of 67,000 dairy cattle in the North Island and 148,000 in the South Island. Beef cattle numbers also declined slightly.

In 2014 the number of deer farmed in NZ fell below one million for the first time, decreasing by 70,000 (7pc) – again impacted by the uptake of dairy operations in NZ. The number of deer peaked at 1.8 million in 2004, but this has been falling since 2009.

The 2014 NZ Agricultural Production Survey involved farmers and foresters across both islands. It covered land use, animal farming (livestock), arable crops, horticultural crops, forestry, and farming practices (including fertiliser and cultivation).

The survey was conducted in partnership with the NZ Ministry for Primary Industries.

 

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