The number of dairy cattle at 30 June 2013 increased by 6% over the previous year, to 2.9 million head. Increases were reported in all states, with Victoria up by 4% (or 73,400 head) to 1.8 million head, New South Wales up by 7% (or 24,700 head) to 365,000 head, and Tasmania up by 10% (or 23,900 head) to 256,000 head.
The number of meat cattle at 30 June 2013 remained steady at 25.5 million head. Decreases in New South Wales (down 4% or 216,000 head, to 5.3 million head) and the Northern Territory (down 12% or 269,000 head, to 1.9 million head) were partly offset by increases in most of the other states and territories. The number of meat cows and heifers one year and over was estimated to have fallen by 5% to 12.9 million head, with the largest decreases reported in New South Wales, Victoria and the Northern Territory. The total number of other meat cattle was estimated to have increased by 4% to 12.6 million head, with increases in all states and territories other than the Northern Territory.
The estimate of the number of sheep and lambs at 30 June 2013 indicated a slight increase over the previous year - up 924,000 head to 75.6 million head. Increases in sheep and lamb numbers in South Australia, Western Australia and Tasmania were only partly offset by decreases in New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland. The increase at the national level was driven wholly by increases in the number of all other sheep, as the number of breeding ewes fell in all states. The overall decrease in breeding ewe numbers was 11%, with the largest falls being reported in New South Wales, Victoria and Western Australia, down by 11%, 13% and 11% respectively.
The number of lambs marked in 2012-13 fell by 11% (or 4.0 million lambs) to 31.5 million over 2011-12. All states reported a decrease in the number of lambs marked, consistent with the widespread drop in the number of breeding ewes. The largest decreases in the number of lambs marked were reported in New South Wales and Victoria, with numbers down by more than a million in both states.
The estimate of the number of pigs at 30 June 2013 fell by 7% to 2.0 million head, the lowest figure since 1967. Pig numbers fell across most states. The total number of breeding sows fell by 8% to 218,000 head. Small increases in New South Wales, Western Australia and Tasmania were more than offset by decreases in the other states. Pig numbers have been in decline for a number of years as producers have contended with high feed prices and cheap imports.
Footnote(s): (a) Data for 2013 are preliminary and may be subject to revision.