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Good Start To The Season For Farmers

Good Start To The Season For Farmers

Farmers have had a positive start to the 2004-05 season according to a recently completed survey by Meat & Wool New Zealand’s Economic Service.

The survey established the numbers of sheep and beef cattle for the 2004-05 farming year. Economic Service executive director Rob Davison says there are a number of positives in the survey results.

“The results from the survey show that sheep numbers are up by 0.9 per cent compared to this time last year, bringing the national total to 40.1 million, this is the second consecutive year we’ve seen sheep numbers edge upwards”.

He says good late summer and autumn weather has been a factor increasing ewe numbers most regions. However the final lamb crop numbers for this year will ultimately depend on the weather at lambing.”

“Given the excellent condition of breeding ewes and that scanning results to date are ahead last year the expectation is for a 34.0 million lamb crop. This is 1.4 million lambs up on last season. It’s also up 0.6 million on two years ago when the record lambing percentage of 124.9 per cent was recorded and reflects that there are more breeding ewes on hand than 2 years ago”

“The recent floods in the Bay of Plenty devastated individual farms and the impact will be significant to those farms. However the impact will be minimal on national meat and wool production for overseas markets.

Rob Davison says “that in contrast to sheep number beef cattle numbers at the 30 June 2004 declined 4 per cent to 4.5 million. This decrease was mainly due to the large cattle kill and a reduced number of dairy-beef calves reared over the last 2 seasons.”

“South Island beef cattle numbers have decreased to 6 per cent and North Island numbers dropped by 3.3 per cent. The reason for these decreases is due to the dry conditions experienced particularly in Otago and Northland from late spring through until summer.”

“These conditions have led to a higher than usual number of dry cows and resulted in more culling of cattle than usual.”

Davison says all regions experienced a decrease in beef cattle numbers, except for the Taranaki-Manawatu region where beef numbers increased by 2.4 per cent, especially on hill country farms.

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