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Agricultural Production Statistics: June 2014 (final)
Embargoed until 10:45am  –  13 May 2015
Commentary

This release contains final results for key livestock, forestry, arable crops, and horticultural crops from the 2014 Agricultural Production Survey. Statistics in this release may differ from the provisional statistics published in December 2014. Since the provisional release, we have received more survey responses and done more data processing and analysis.

Figures in this release are rounded. All percentage changes are calculated using unrounded figures.

Sheep number drops almost a million

There were 29.8 million sheep in the national flock at 30 June 2014, a decline of 3 percent (983,000) from the previous year. The last time New Zealand had fewer than 30 million sheep was in 1943.

The number of sheep decreased by 4 percent (596,000) in the North Island, and 2 percent (387,000) in the South Island. There was a similar number of sheep in each island, with 14.4 million in the North Island and 15.4 million sheep in the South Island at 30 June 2014.

Manawatu-Wanganui was the most significant sheep farming region in the North Island (5.3 million sheep) followed by Hawke's Bay (2.9 million). The most significant sheep farming regions in the South Island were Otago (5.3 million), Canterbury (5 million), and Southland (4.3 million).

Canterbury was the region with the most significant fall in the number of sheep, down 255,000 (5 percent). Waikato followed, with 227,000 (12 percent) fewer sheep than in 2013.

China and the United Kingdom (UK) were our key destinations for lamb exports in the year ended 30 June 2014. We exported 94,000 tonnes of lamb to China and 60,000 tonnes to the UK.

Graph, Sheep in the North and South islands, 2002 to 2014.

Dairy cattle number increase mainly in South Island

The number of dairy cattle increased 3 percent between 2013 and 2014, mainly due to increases in the South Island. At 30 June 2014, the national herd numbered 6.7 million, up 215,000 from 2013. The number of dairy cattle in the South Island increased by 6 percent (148,000), while the number in the North Island increased by 2 percent (67,000).

The regions with the largest shifts in number between 2013 and 2014 were Southland, Waikato, and Manawatu-Wanganui. The Southland number was up 85,000 (14 percent), Waikato increased 77,000 (4 percent), and Manawatu-Wanganui increased 33,000 (7 percent).

The South Island dairy herd has been increasing since 2005 and now accounts for 40 percent of the national herd, compared with 27 percent in 2005. At 30 June 2014, there were 2.7 million dairy cattle in the South Island compared with 1.4 million in 2005 – the total almost doubled in this period.

Graph, Dairy cattle in the North and South islands, 2002 to 2014.

Number of beef cattle decreases slightly

In 2014, there was a slight decrease in the total number of beef cattle when compared with 2013. There were 3.7 million beef cattle at 30 June 2014, down 1 percent (29,000) from 2013.

Beef farming continues to be predominantly in the North Island, with 71 percent (2.6 million) of the national beef cattle herd in the North Island at 30 June 2014.

The regions with the largest falls in beef cattle from 2013 were Northland (47,000 decrease), Canterbury (46,000 decrease), and Waikato (32,000 decrease). These falls were almost offset by regional increases that included Gisborne (17,000 increase), Wellington (17,000 increase), and Otago (17,000 increase).

At 30 June 2014 there were 1 million beef cows and heifers in calf, slightly less than in 2013.

We exported over $1.0 billion of frozen beef (196,000 tonnes) to North America in the June 2014 year, and $82 million (9,000 tonnes) to the European Union.

Graph, Beef cattle in the North and South islands, 2002 to 2014.

Deer number falls below 1 million

The total number of farmed deer in New Zealand has continued to decline, and was 958,000 at 30 June 2014. The last time there was under 1 million deer was in 1990. Since then, the number peaked in 2004 before starting a gradual decline. Venison prices remained subdued in 2014.

Deer farming is mainly concentrated in the South Island, which has 70 percent (668,000) of the national herd. In 2014, the three key deer farming regions in the South Island were Canterbury (253,000), Southland (223,000), and Otago (139,000).

During the year ended 30 June 2014, 375,000 fawns were born and alive at four months, down 6 percent on 2013. This fall reflects 20,000 fewer females being mated in 2013 than in 2012.

Graph, Deer in the North and South islands, 2002 to 2014.

Number of pigs continues to drop

The number of pigs was estimated to be 287,000 at 30 June 2014 – 4 percent less than in 2013. Canterbury continues to be New Zealand's largest pig farming region, with 58 percent of the total.

Pig numbers have been falling since 2010, while imported pig meat has continued to increase. Imports of pig meat have risen from 19,000 tonnes in 2004 to 34,000 tonnes in 2014, a 79 percent increase.

Arable crops

Wheat

For the year ending 30 June 2014, 48,000 hectares of wheat was harvested, down 3 percent from 2013. A total of 413,000 tonnes was harvested, equating to a yield per hectare of 8.6 tonnes – less than the previous year's 9.1 tonnes per hectare. The dry summer in 2013 was conducive to a good wheat harvest.

Barley

During the year ended 30 June 2014, 59,000 hectares of barley was harvested, down 3 percent from 2013. The total yield was 406,000 tonnes, down from 416,000 tonnes in 2013. The yield for barley remained at 6.8 tonnes per hectares, as for 2013.

Canterbury accounted for almost two-thirds (65 percent) of the total area harvested. Barley is commonly used for stock feed.

Maize grain

The area of maize grain harvested was 22,000 hectares for the year ending 30 June 2014, up 16 percent from 2013.

Nearly all maize grain is harvested in the North Island. The main growing regions are Hawke's Bay, Waikato, Manawatu-Wanganui, and Bay of Plenty.

Horticulture

Apples

During the year ended 30 June 2014, the planted area of apples was 8,420 hectares, down 5 percent from 2012. Hawke's Bay and Tasman were the two main growing regions, accounting for 86 percent of the total harvested area. Between 2012 and 2014 the harvested area in Hawke's Bay decreased 5 percent (to 4,860 hectares), while the Tasman area also decreased 5 percent (to 2,370 hectares).

The total value of apple exports for the year ended 30 June 2014 was $536 million, up 13 percent from 2013. The quantity exported in the June 2014 year was 325,000 tonnes, up 2 percent from 2013.

Cherries

The planted area in cherries at 30 June 2014 (660 hectares) was 7 percent above the 2012 planted area. Cherries are grown almost exclusively in Otago, with 82 percent of the total planted area.

In the June 2014 year, the main export destinations for cherries were Taiwan (34 percent), China (20 percent), and Thailand (16 percent).

Little change in forestry harvest

During the year ended 31 March 2014, 26.4 million cubic metres of exotic forestry timber was harvested from 50,000 hectares of plantation.

The new area of exotic forest planted in 2014 decreased 60 percent from 2013 (to 4,000 hectares). During the same period, the replanted area of exotic forest decreased 5 percent (to 41,000 hectares). The area replanted decreased in both islands, down 1 percent (1,000 hectares) in the North Island and down 14 percent (2,000 hectares) in the South Island.

For more detailed agricultural data see the Excel tables in the 'Downloads' box.

 

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