Livestock Trends: Region-by-region

1 June 2000

Northland

Sheep numbers have continued to decline steadily during the past decade to less than half of what they were in 1990. In 1990 there were 1,294,000 sheep. In 1999 there were 584,000 sheep.

In 1990 there were 369,000 dairy cattle in Northland. Numbers declined to a low of 356,000 in 1993, peaked at 402,000 in 1996 and in 1999 there were 387,000 dairy cattle.

At the beginning of the decade beef cattle numbers stood at 592,000, rose to a peak of 610,000 in 1991 and the beef cattle numbers have been in decline to reach a low of 544,000 in 1999.

Deer numbers in Northland have more than doubled between 1996 and 1999 – from 11,000 to 28,000.

Auckland

Sheep, dairy and beef cattle numbers have all shown a steady and significant decline in numbers.

The number of dairy cattle has gone down from 230,000 in 1990 to 132,000 in 1999.

Overall there has been a dramatic decline in sheep numbers - to less than half of what they were in 1990. In 1990 there were 1,040,000 sheep. The numbers reached a low of 400,000 in 1996 and rose slightly during the three years between 1996 to 1999 to reach 479,000.

Beef cattle numbers have declined from 290,000 in 1990 to 179,000 in 1999.

Waikato 

Waikato still has the highest number of dairy cows in the country. In the past decade sheep and beef cattle numbers have declined while dairy cattle numbers have shown a moderate increase.

Dairy cattle reached a high of 1,553,000 in 1996 – up from 1,277,000 in 1990. In 1999 they were 1,503,000.

Beef cattle numbers trended up in the first half of the decade, up from 758,000 in 1990 to reach a high of 870,000 in 1994. Since then there has been a drop to 679,000 in 1999.

Sheep numbers have declined from 4,471,000 in 1990 to 2,866,000 in 1999.

Bay of Plenty

Dairy cattle numbers have remained relatively constant this decade despite a drop in numbers in 1994 and 1995. In 1990 there were 338,000 dairy cattle dropping to a low of 268,000 in 1993. In 1999 there were 346,000 dairy cattle.

Beef cattle numbers have steadily declined from 175,000 in 1990 to 119,000 in 1999.

The sheep population has dropped by more than half – from 1,097,000 in 1990 to 496,000 in 1999.

Gisborne

Though numbers are low in comparison with other regions, there has been a significant rise in the number of dairy cattle in the Gisborne region. Between 1990 and 1995 dairy cattle numbers nearly doubled – from 3800 to 7000. Since then there has been a decrease – to 5,800 in 1999.

Sheep numbers have declined though not to the same extent as in other regions. In 1990 there were 2,283,000 sheep. By 1999 the population had dropped to 1,608,000.

Cattle numbers rose between 1990 and 1995 from 326,000 to 364,000 but dropped sharply to stand at 281,000 in 1999.

Hawkes Bay

The number of dairy cattle in the Hawkes Bay has more than trebled this decade - up from 14,000 in 1990 to 45,000. The biggest jump in numbers was between 1993 and 1995 when the number went from 19,000 to 32,000.

The sheep population still dominates at 4,502,000 in 1999 though there has been a decline since 1990 when numbers stood at 4,995,000.

Beef cattle numbers have steadily increased from 427,000 in 1990 to 542,000 in 1999.

The pig population declined sharply between 1996 and 1999 – 10,000 down to 4,500.

Taranaki

There has been a significant drop in sheep numbers this decade – down from 1,375,000 in 1990 to 817,000 in 1999.

There has been a small to moderate rise in the number of dairy cattle – from 563,000 in 1990 to 608,000 in 1999.

Beef cattle numbers have declined – from 174,000 in 1990 to 123,000 in 1999.

Manawatu-Wanganui

There has been a drop in sheep numbers – from 8,692,000 in 1990 to 6,956,000 in 1999.

Dairy cattle numbers have steadily risen – from 255,000 in 1990 to 329,000 in 1999.

Beef cattle numbers began the decade at 728,000 and reached a high of 857,000 in 1995 before dropping back to 752,000 in 1999.

There was an increase in deer numbers between 1996 and 1999 – from 131,000 to 15,000

Wellington

Dairy cattle numbers have increased by a third in the past decade – from 63,000 in 1990 to 97,000 in 1999.

Sheep numbers have steadily declined though the drop has been small in comparison to some other regions in the country. In 1990 there were 2,596,000 sheep dropping to 2,271,000 in 1999.

Beef cattle numbers reached a high in 1995 – up from 165,000 in 1990 to 219,000 in 1995. Since 1996 there has been a decline in the numbers to 182,000.

Tasman

There has been a significant increase in dairy cattle numbers – up from 47,000 in 1993 to 74,000 in 1999.

Beef cattle numbers have remained fairly constant over the decade. In 1993 beef cattle numbers were 57,000 rising to 65,000 in 1995 and coming back down to 57,000 in 1999.

Sheep numbers have declined from 471,000 in 1993 to 434,000 in 1999.

Nelson

In comparison with the rest of the country, this region has relatively few livestock. However it follows the national trend of declining sheep numbers.

The sheep population has nearly halved between 1993 and 1999 – from 24,000 to 13,000.

Beef cattle numbers have also declined – from 2,700 to 1,800.

Marlborough

Dairy cattle numbers have almost doubled from 18,000 in 1993 to 33,000 in 1999.

There has been a significant increase in beef cattle – up from 64,000 in 1993 to 85,000 in 1999.

Sheep numbers have declined slightly – from 997,000 in 1993 to 944,000 in 1999.

West Coast

Dairy cattle numbers have almost doubled this decade while sheep numbers have dropped by two-thirds.

In 1990 there were 65,000 dairy cattle, rising to 91,000 in 1996. Between 1996 and 1999 there was a big rise - to 121,000.

In contrast, sheep numbers dropped from 314,000 in 1990 to 104,000 in 1999.

Beef cattle numbers declined from 73,000 in 1990 to 52,000 in 1999.

Canterbury

This region shows a big increase in dairy and beef cattle and a relatively small decline in sheep numbers.

Between 1990 and 1999 the trend in dairy cattle numbers was consistently upwards – more than doubling from 113,000 to 275,000.

The trend was the same in beef cattle – up from 320,000 to 516,000.

Sheep numbers fell from 10,422,000 to 9,218,000 in 1999.

Between 1996 and 1999 deer numbers rose sharply – from 278,000 to 433,000. But there was only a small rise in the number of pigs over those three years – from 143,000 to 148,000.

Otago

Otago saw a major increase in dairying – a near three-fold increase in dairy cattle – from 44,000 in 1990 to 125,000 in 1999.

Beef cattle numbers rose significantly in the same period – from 236,000 to 292,000.

Sheep numbers dropped slightly from 8,310,000 to 7,569,000. The low point in sheep numbers was in 1996 when they were 7,317,000. No statistics are available for 1997 and 1998.

Between 1996 and 1999 there was a significant increase in the number of deer – from 99,000 to 151,000. There was a small rise in the number of pigs during those three years – from 19,000 to 24,000.

Southland

In this decade Southland has grown from a relatively minor dairying region to a significant one. The number of dairy cattle has grown stongly - from 38,000 in 1990 to 233,000 dairy cows in 1999.

There has been a significant increase in beef cattle numbers – up from 187,000 in 1990 to 223,000 in 1999. Sheep numbers have declined from 8,932,000 in 1990 to 6,738,000 in 1999.

Deer numbers in the region also more than doubled between 1996 and 1999 – from 190,000 to 393,000.

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