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No Change in Sheep Numbers

No Change in Sheep Numbers

There has been no significant change in sheep numbers since 2002, according to provisional results from the 2003 Agricultural Production Survey released today by Statistics New Zealand. At 30 June 2003, there were 39.7 million sheep in New Zealand compared with 39.5 million at the same time the previous year. This is the first survey since 1982, when sheep numbers peaked at 70.3 million, that a decrease has not been recorded.

Survey results also show that numbers of lambs marked or tailed have increased to 33.3 million in 2003, up from 32.6 million in the 2002 Agricultural Production Census. Dairy cattle numbers have remained steady since 2002, at 5.2 million, while beef cattle numbers have risen by 4 percent in the same period to reach 4.7 million in 2003. Deer numbers have increased by 3 percent since 2002 to reach 1.7 million in 2003.

The area planted in wine grapes continues to show strong growth. Results indicate that there were 19,170 hectares planted at 30 June 2003, an increase of 10 percent since 2002. The area planted in wine grapes has increased by more than 50 percent since 30 June 2000. The area planted in apples at 2003 increased to 11,930 hectares, up from the 11,710 hectares recorded in 2002. This is the first increase in the area planted in apples since 1995. However, the figure is still well below the 15,920 hectares recorded in 1995.

The new area planted in forestry has decreased to 22,500 hectares for the year ended 31 December 2002. This is down 34 percent when compared with the previous year. Approximately 42,000 hectares were replanted in forestry during the year ended 31 December 2002, which is similar to that recorded in 2001.

The 2003 Agricultural Production Survey, a sample survey, is part of a programme of agricultural production statistics conducted in partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry. Further provisional results from the survey can be obtained from the Statistics New Zealand website at: More detailed, final results will be released on 28 May 2004.

Brian Pink

Government Statistician


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