[11 May/ Radio NZ Rural]

Statistics New Zealand figures showed a 5 percent decrease in sheep numbers, a 7 percent decrease in deer numbers, and a 2 percent rise in the number of dairy cattle in 2016. Sheep numbers have declined from an all-time high of over 70 million in 1982 to under 28 million in 2016. Beef and Lamb New Zealand Chief Executive, Sam McIvor said the fall in sheep numbers was unsurprising and reflected the challenges farmers faced two years ago which led them to cull stock.