For the first time since 2006-07 New Zealand has recorded an annual increase in beef cattle numbers.
The Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) Economic Service’s latest annual stock number survey released today shows that beef cattle numbers increased by 1.6pc in 2013-14, with the national herd now standing at 3.76 million head.
The rise, the first in seven years, reflected good feed conditions and improved returns, which led farmers to hold on to older cattle, B+LNZ Economic Service Chief Economist Andrew Burtt said.
“Breeding cows were in good condition at mating,” Mr Burtt said.
“With favourable feed supplies over the winter, and assuming good feed supplies continue into spring, the calving percentage is expected to be similar to last year.
“The only exceptions are Northland and northern parts of the Waikato, where tight feed conditions in spring 2014 might impact on calf survival at calving.”
The Economic Service estimates the dairy herd increased 0.7 per cent in the year to 30 June 2014, reflecting increasing numbers in the South Island (+2.6pc), offset by a slight decline in the North Island (-0.5pc).