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South Island Sheep Numbers Fall 3 Percent

South Island Sheep Numbers Fall 3 Percent

Sheep numbers in the South Island were recorded at 20.5 million on 30 June 2004, according to final results from Statistics New Zealand's 2004 Agricultural Production Survey. This was a 3 percent decrease on the number a year earlier. North Island numbers increased by 2 percent over the same period, with the national sheep flock numbering 39.3 million.

The national dairy cattle herd numbered 5.2 million at 30 June 2004, with almost three-quarters of these in the North Island. Waikato is the largest dairying region, with 1.7 million or one-third of New Zealand's dairy cattle. Numbers in Canterbury, the largest dairying region in the South Island, increased by 8 percent from 30 June 2003 to reach 0.6 million.

There were 4.4 million beef cattle at 30 June 2004, a decrease of 200,000 from a year earlier. The Manawatu-Wanganui region had the largest decrease, down by 8 percent to 644,000. Hawke's Bay recorded an increase of 7 percent to 613,000.

Both new plantings and replantings of exotic forest decreased during the year ended 31 December 2003. Compared with the previous 12-month period, the new area planted was down by 11 percent to 16,900 hectares, while the area replanted was down by 7 percent to 40,100 hectares. Of the 21.8 million cubic metres of exotic timber harvested, more than three-quarters was from the North Island.

The 2004 Agricultural Production Survey is part of an ongoing cycle of censuses and surveys, starting with the 2002 Agricultural Census. The 2004 survey covers livestock, arable farming and forestry. Horticulture was not included in this survey, but will be covered in the 2005 survey. These censuses and surveys, conducted jointly with the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, provide information to all New Zealanders about the farming sector and its importance to our economy.

Brian Pink

Government Statistician


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