Survey: Sheep numbers fall, beef cattle up

Rural Exchange 12/08/2018

Beef cattle herd numbers are up, while sheep numbers continue to fall, according to the latest results from the annual stock number survey by Beef + Lamb New Zealand (BLNZ).

The survey conducted for the year to 30 June 2018 found New Zealand's breeding ewe flock decreased 2.1 percent to 17.37 million.

All regions decreased, driven mostly by strong prices for cull ewes, the report says.

However, hogget numbers increased 2.5 percent to 9.11 million head, with an increase in numbers seen in Marlborough-Canterbury due to ewe hogget retentions sourced from drier regions in the south.

B+LNZ chief economist Andrew Burtt told RadioLIVE's Rural Exchange this shows a lot of confidence in introducing younger animals to the flock.

Total sheep numbers decreased 0.8 percent to 27.31 million head, with a decrease in breeding ewes the cause.

Meanwhile the number of beef cattle increased 1.9 percent, or 68,000 head, to an estimated 3.68 million head, driven by strong prices in the South Island encouraging farmers to maintain or lift herd sizes.

Watch the full interview with Andrew Burtt above.

Rural Exchange with Hamish McKay, Sarah Perriam and Richard Loe, 5-7am Saturday and Sunday on RadioLIVE with Carter’s Tyre Service. Click here for all the ways to watch and listen.