The total number of dairy cattle at 30 June 2012 increased by 3% over the previous year to 2.7 million head. This was driven by a 6% increase in Victoria (up to 1.7 million head), the dominant milk producing state. Increases were also reported in New South Wales (up by 3% to 334,000 head) and Tasmania (up by 3% to 229,000 head).
The total number of meat cattle at 30 June 2012 fell by 3% over the previous year, to 25.1 million head. The most notable drops in numbers were reported in Queensland (down 6% to 11.8 million head), Northern Territory (down 7% to 2.0 million head) and Western Australia (down 4% to 1.9 million head). The decrease in total meat cattle was driven by a 9% drop in the number of other meat cattle, as the number of meat cows and heifers remained relatively steady overall.
Total sheep and lamb numbers at 30 June 2012 remained fairly steady at 72.5 million. Decreases in sheep and lamb numbers in South Australia, Western Australia and Queensland were offset by increases in New South Wales and Victoria. Breeding ewe numbers increased in most states with producers taking advantage of favourable conditions. In New South Wales breeding ewe numbers rose for the third consecutive year (up by 11% to 17.0 million) as producers continued to rebuild their breeding flocks.
The number of lambs marked in 2011-12 rose by 4% to 34.7 million since the previous year. Most states recorded an increase in lambs marked in line with increases in their breeding ewe stocks.
The total number of pigs at 30 June 2012 fell by 6% to 2.2 million, the lowest figure since 1968. The number of breeding sows fell by 9% to 239,000 head at the Australian level, and the number of all other pigs fell by 5% to 1.9 million head. Decreases in Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia were only partly offset by small increases in New South Wales and Victoria. The largest decrease was reported in Queensland, down by 13% to 554,000 head.
Footnote(s): (a) Data for 2011 are preliminary and may be subject to revision
Source(s): Principal Agricultural Commodities, Australia, Preliminary (cat. no. 7111.0)
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