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Sheep numbers decrease

Embargoed until 10:45am – 14 May 2008
Sheep numbers decrease

The 2007 Agricultural Production Census results show that the national sheep flock decreased from 39.6 million in 2002 to 38.5 million in 2007, Statistics New Zealand said today. North Island sheep numbers, at 18.5 million, are at a similar level to those recorded in 2002. South Island numbers have fallen from 21.1 million in 2002 to 19.9 million in 2007.

The national dairy herd numbered 5.3 million in 2007, up 2 percent on the 5.2 million recorded in 2002.

Dairy milking cows and heifer numbers reached 4.2 million, up 8 percent from 2002. North Island numbers, at 2.9 million, are at a similar level to 2002, while South Island numbers have increased 31 percent, from 1.0 million to 1.3 million.

Deer numbers fell from 1.6 million in 2006 to 1.4 million in 2007. The number of female deer mated (680,000) was 8 percent fewer than in 2006.

The total area planted in wine grapes increased to 29,620 hectares, up 71 percent on 2002 and more than four times the 1994 figure. Almost 60 percent of plantings are in Marlborough, which had 17,170 hectares planted in 2007. Plantings in Marlborough increased 128 percent between 2002 and 2007. Canterbury had a 125 percent increase, taking its plantings from 750 hectares to 1,680 hectares.

Kiwifruit plantings covered 13,250 hectares, up 12 percent since 2002. Most of the new plantings took place in the Bay of Plenty, which now has three-quarters of all kiwifruit plantings.

Hectares of exotic forestry harvested in 2007 amounted to 40,800, a level similar to the harvests of 2005 and 2006. In 2007, harvested areas replanted amounted to 33,000 hectares and new plantings to 2,600 hectares. New plantings have fallen steadily from the 33,700 hectares recorded in the 2002 Agricultural Production Census.

The 2007 Agricultural Production Census is the first since 2002 and involved all farmers, horticulturists and foresters in New Zealand. Statistics New Zealand would like to thank them for their cooperation which enabled these results to be produced.

Geoff Bascand
Government Statistician
14 May 2008


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