14 May 2009

Big fall in sheep numbers confirmed

12:41 pm on 14 May 2009

Latest statistics have confirmed the largest fall in sheep numbers in New Zealand since the population peaked in 1982.

The 2008 agricultural production survey by Statistics New Zealand shows sheep numbers fell to 34 million, a decrease of 11% since 2007.

Beef cattle numbers last year were estimated at 4.1 million - a decrease of 6% on the previous year.

Deer numbers also decreased slightly to 1.2 million - a similar level to that recorded in 1994.

However, the dairy cattle population bucked this trend, increasing 6% since 2007 to 5.6 million.