Sheep numbers lowest since early 1920s

by Editor
Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The latest Australian livestock inventory estimates for 2005-06 has seen the national sheep flock revised down.

Released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), the report also said that cattle numbers have remained steady.

As at June 30, 2006, the Australian sheep flock was estimated to stand at 91 million head, down from an earlier estimate of 92.7 million head.

This represents a decline of 10 million on the sample estimate for 2005 and a 20 million decline since the previous census in 2001. The Australian sheep flock has been in an extended period of liquidation since reaching 170 million head in 1990, and is now at its lowest since the early 1920s.

The ABS has estimated the Australian cattle herd at 28.47 million head as at June 2006, up 2.5% on 2005, but down slightly on previous estimates in June.

While Queensland continues to have the largest cattle herd, at 11.6 million head, there was significant growth in numbers in New South Wales (6.2 million head) and Western Australia (2.4 million head).

Preliminary 2006-07 Agricultural Survey data (for June 2007) will be released on December 20.