New Zealand beef cattle herd down, dairy herd up
Beef cattle numbers in New Zealand had declined 1% to 4.1 million head, while dairy cattle numbers rose 4% to 5.8 million head.
Farm conversions to dairy, dairy support and successive drought years in some regions were seen as the reasons for the shifting numbers.
The larger New Zealand dairy herd means increasing cow and heifer slaughter, at 1.4 million in 2008-09, 56% of total adult cattle slaughter. This in turn means larger amounts of manufacturing beef production, which contributed 53% of New Zealand's beef and veal exports over the same period - 189,373 tonnes swt.