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Sheep numbers decrease

Embargoed until 10:45am – 11 February 2008

Sheep numbers decrease

The national number of sheep decreased to 38.6 million, Statistics New Zealand said today. Provisional figures from the 2007 Agricultural Production Census show that the number of sheep was 4 percent fewer than in 2006. Sheep numbers peaked at 70.3 million in 1982. The 2007 provisional result was the lowest recorded since 1955.

The number of lambs tailed in the year to 30 June 2007 was 33.5 million. This is a similar number to the previous year when 33.8 million were tailed.

Dairy cattle numbers reached 5.3 million, up 2 percent on the 2006 figure. In 2007, there were 1.4 million (38 percent) more dairy cattle than in 1994.

The number of deer fell to 1.4 million, 12 percent fewer than in 2006. Beef cattle numbers remained stable at 4.4 million.

In 2007 the total area planted in apples decreased to 9,340 hectares, down 15 percent since 2005. The total area planted in wine grapes increased to 29,680 hectares, up 23 percent since 2005. The total area planted in avocados was 3,990 hectares, up 17 percent on the 2005 figure.

The 2007 Agricultural Production Census is the first since 2002 and involved all farmers and foresters in New Zealand. Statistics New Zealand thanks them for their cooperation in helping produce these results.

Final results, including regional statistics, from the 2007 Agricultural Production Census will be available in May 2008.

Geoff Bascand
Government Statistician
11 February 2008


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