The good pastoral production year has seen New Zealand sheep numbers increase by 2.6 percent and beef cattle numbers increase by one percent for the year to 30 June 2012, according to Beef + Lamb NZ Ltd’s Economic Service.
“This partly makes up for the 4.4 percent decline in sheep and 2.6 percent decline in beef cattle the year before,” says executive director Rob Davison.
B+LNZ’s annual stock number survey, which establishes the productive base of livestock for 2012-2013 shows that while sheep numbers were up 2.6 percent most of this increased will be stock carried over for slaughter in July-September.
Ewe condition is good across the country, he noted. “Scanning results for most regions show in-lamb ewes are carrying more multiple lambs with the general comment that scanning percentages are up five to 10 percent on last year. All we need now is an excellent sprint to ensure high survival of the lambs born.”
The scanning results lead to expectations that the 2012 lamb crop could be up on last Spring by one million lambs (+ four percent). This outcome would lift the ewe flock performance measured by lambing percentage to around the highest achieved, which in 2009-2010 was 123 percent. There is potential to exceed this performance level, Davison says. Each one percentage point change in lambing percentage, equates to about 200,000 lambs.