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Increase in Sheep and Dairy Cattle Numbers

12 December 2006

Increase in Sheep and Dairy Cattle Numbers

Sheep and dairy cattle numbers have increased since 2005, Statistics New Zealand said today. Beef numbers have remained stable and deer numbers have decreased. These numbers are taken from the provisional results of the 2006 Agricultural Production Survey.

Sheep numbers reached 40.1 million at 30 June 2006, up from 39.9 million a year earlier. This is the first time that sheep numbers have increased two years in a row since they started declining from their peak of 70.3 million in 1982.

There were 33.8 million lambs tailed during the year to 30 June 2006, up 2 percent since 2005. The number of lambs tailed from ewe hoggets increased by 13 percent to 1.5 million, reflecting the increase in the number of ewe hoggets put to ram in 2005.

Dairy cattle numbers increased to 5.2 million in 2006. This is up 3 percent on the number estimated a year earlier. The number of cows and heifers in milk or calf was up 2 percent to 4.2 million. Deer numbers decreased 6 percent to 1.6 million. The major contributor to this drop was the 9 percent decrease in the number of female deer mated, which fell to 745,000.

Final results from the 2006 Agricultural Production Survey will be available in April 2007.

Brian Pink

Government Statistician


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