August 15, 2008
Counting sheep is getting easier - there are now just eight for every New Zealander as flocks continue to dwindle. In 1982, the ratio was nearly 22 for every person.
Yesterday, Meat and Wool New Zealand issued the latest count of 34.2 million - compared with New Zealand's population of 4,270,870.
Economic Service Executive Director Rob Davison says the latest sharp drop in sheep numbers - 4.3 million, or 11 percent, in the past year - was caused 60 percent by drought and 40 percent by conversion of farms to dairying.
He does not expect a full recovery soon because sheep farmers are struggling with drought effects on top of low prices for wool and lamb. And chops will be harder to find because, in the coming season, the kill will be down 6 million to 20.3 million lambs. Reprinted from Stuff, NZ