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Sheep Numbers Decrease

Sheep Numbers Decrease

Sheep numbers decreased to 39.0 million at 30 June 2004, according to provisional 2004 Agricultural Production Survey results released by Statistics New Zealand. This is 1.7 percent lower than the 39.7 million recorded at 30 June 2003. At 30 June 2004, the national flock was the lowest recorded since it peaked in 1982 at 70.3 million. Survey results indicate that lambs marked or tailed decreased to 31.9 million, down from 33.4 million in June 2003.

The number of dairy cattle was 5.2 million at 30 June 2004. This is an increase of 122,000 compared with the previous June year. The number of dairy cows and heifers in milk or calf increased to 4.0 million from the 3.9 million recorded in June 2003. The number of calves born alive to dairy heifers and cows increased to 3.2 million (up 2.1 percent), during the year ended 30 June 2004. Beef cattle numbers decreased to 4.4 million (down 4.9 percent) at 30 June 2004.

During the 12 months ended 30 June 2004, 1.0 million calves were born alive to beef heifers and cows. This is a decrease of 100,000 from the 1.1 million recorded during the previous 12 months. The new area planted in production forest during the year ending 31 December 2003 decreased to 13,300 hectares. This is 32.1 percent less than the 19,600 hectares planted during 2002. The area replanted in forestry decreased from 43,200 hectares to 39,500 hectares between 2002 and 2003. During 2003, 49,800 hectares of exotic timber were harvested, which produced 21.8 million cubic metres of timber.

The 2004 Agricultural Production Survey is part of a programme of agricultural production statistics produced in partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry. The 2004 survey covers livestock, arable cropping and forestry. Statistics New Zealand extends its thanks to all farmers and foresters who supplied information for this survey. Final results from the 2004 Agricultural Production Survey will be available on 27 May 2005.

Brian Pink

Government Statistician

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