14 May 2015

Agricultural stats show changing landscape

7:23 am on 14 May 2015

The latest argricultural statistics show New Zealand's sheep flock is the smallest it has been since 1943, falling to fewer than 30 million sheep.

Sheep grazing in the Wairarapa east of Masterton.

Sheep grazing in the Wairarapa east of Masterton. Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

Statistics New Zealand said in the year to June 2014, sheep numbers fell by 4 percent in the North Island and 2 percent in the south.

But the dairy industry's hoof-print continued to grow, especially in the South Island.

The nation's dairy herd stood at 6.7 million cattle, up 3 percent on 2013.

Most of the increase came in the South Island, up 6 percent. Southland's dairy herd increased by 14 percent or 85,000 cows.

Deer numbers fell to below one million, the lowest level since 1990.

In 2014, 660 hectares of cherries were planted a seven percent rise on 2012.

In the year to March 2014, the new areas of exotic forestry plantings were chopped by 60 percent, with just 4,000 hectares being planted.