December 22, 2005 -- Both Australia and New Zealand announced last week that they have seen an increase in the size of their sheep flocks.
Data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) reveals that, as of June 2005, the Australian flock was estimated to be 103 million head ? a 1-percent increase over June 2004 numbers.
The ABS estimated that the number of lambs (under one year) on June 30, 2005, stood at 29 million head ? up 1 percent on last year. The number of sheep (including rams, ewes and wethers) was also estimated to have risen 1 percent, to 73 million head.
According to government figures released by New Zealand, there were 39.9 million sheep in that country on June 30, 2005, a 1.7-percent gain from one year earlier. The number of young ewes for breeding increased 21 percent to 3.2 million.
This is the first time in 17 years that New Zealand has increased the numbers in its national flock. Higher prices and mild weather have been sited as reasons why farmers are keeping more breeding animals.
These projected flock inventory increases are very similar to increases posted in the United States? national flock this year.