New Zealand sheep flock at its lowest level in 70 years

New Zealand had 29.8m sheep last year, the first time since 1943 the country’s sheep flock fell below 30m head.

The number of sheep fell by 3% from 2013 and the last time the sheep number was below 30 million was back in 1943, according to New Zealand Statistics.

Its Agriculture Statistics Manager Neil Kelly said the that in 2014, the number of dairy cattle had increased 3%, while the total number of beef cattle declined slightly.

“The total number of dairy cattle was just under 6.7m, with increases of 67,000 dairy cattle in the North Island and 148,000 in the South Island.

“These increases came mainly from the key dairy regions of Waikato, Canterbury, and Southland.”

In 2014 the number of deer fell below 1m for the first time, decreasing by 70,000 (7%). The number of deer peaked at 1.8m in 2004, but this has been falling since 2009.

New Zealand had 660ha planted in cherries at June 30, 2014, up 7% since 2012. The main export markets for cherries were Taiwan, China, and Thailand.

The 2014 Agricultural Production Survey involved farmers and foresters in New Zealand. It covered land use, animal farming (livestock), arable crops, horticultural crops, forestry, and farming practices (including fertiliser and cultivation). The survey was conducted in partnership with the Ministry for Primary Industries.