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First Increase in Sheep Numbers Since 1980s

Monday, 3 April 2006

Agricultural Production Statistics (Final): — 3 April 2006

First Increase in Sheep Numbers Since 1980s

The national sheep flock increased to 39.9 million in 2005, Statistics New Zealand said today. Figures from the 2005 Agricultural Production Survey show hogget numbers were up 11 percent on 2004 and this was the major driver behind the 2 percent rise in total sheep numbers.

This is the first increase in total sheep numbers since the 1980s. From a peak in 1982, sheep numbers showed a downward trend before stabilising from 2002.

At 30 June 2005, there were 33.2 million lambs, up 4 percent on the 2004 figure. The 27 percent rise in lambs born to ewe hoggets (1.4 million) was a significant contributor to the increase. Livestock numbers in Manawatu-Wanganui increased 8 percent for both sheep and dairy cattle, 9 percent for beef, and 6 percent for deer. This reverses the movement seen in 2004, when sheep, beef and dairy cattle numbers decreased. The Manawatu-Wanganui region experienced major flooding in February 2004.

The 2005 Agricultural Production Survey included questions about horticulture production. Survey results show a general decline in the area planted in pipfruit between 2002 and 2005.

The area planted in apples decreased to 10,980 hectares, down 6 percent on 2002, while the area planted in pears was down to 720 hectares, almost one-quarter less than the 2002 figure.

The total area planted in avocados increased to 3,400 hectares in 2005, up 9 percent from 2002. The Bay of Plenty had 56 percent of total avocado plantings in 2005.

Brian Pink

Government Statistician

ENDS

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