The number of milk cattle decreased in 2009-10 by 3% to 2.5 million head nationally, with the total number of cows in milk and dry decreasing by 5% to 1.6 million head. Tasmania experienced the largest decrease of all states in dairy cattle, losing 34,000 head (down by 15%). New South Wales and Western Australia were the only states to record herd increases of 8% and 15% respectively.
In 2009-10, meat cattle totalled 24 million head. This is 1.3 million head, or 5% lower than for 2008-09. Notable movements in meat cattle numbers were in Queensland and New South Wales which both recorded an 8% decrease. Falls in meat cattle numbers were recorded in all other states and territories except Tasmania up by 20,000 head, or 5%, and the Northern Territory, which recorded a large increase of 385,000 head or 23%.
Sheep and lamb numbers decreased nationally by 6% to 68 million in 2009-10, the lowest level since 1905. The largest decreases were reported in New South Wales, down by 5% or 1.2 million head and Western Australia, down 1.0 million head or 7%.
Total pig numbers continued to decline marginally in 2009-10 by 12,000 head, down to 2.3 million head. Falls were recorded in all states except Victoria which registered a substantial increase of 96,000 head, up by 23%.
The total number of chickens for egg production fell in 2009-10 by 7% to 12 million chickens. This is the fourth consecutive fall following the peak in 2006. Meat chicken numbers decreased nationally by 14% to 71 million, with Queensland meat chicken numbers down by 23%.