SUMMARY OF FINDINGS LIVESTOCK
The number of milk cattle fell by 5% to 2.5 million at 30 June 2008, with 1.6 million cows in milk and dry reported. Victoria continued to dominate the dairy industry with a total herd of 1.6 million head, although this was a decline of 5% from the previous year.
Meat cattle numbers fell slightly to 24.8 million head at 30 June 2008. Decreases in meat cattle numbers in most states were offset by increases reported in the more northerly regions, Queensland and the Northern Territory.
Sheep numbers fell by 10% to 76.9 million at 30 June 2008, their lowest level since 1920. This was a result of continued difficult seasons due to drought and generally low wool prices. Sheep and lamb numbers fell in all states.
The number of pigs in Australia fell by 7% to 2.4 million at 30 June 2008. This was driven mainly by decreases in Victoria (down 15% to 394 thousand head) and Queensland (down 12% to 610 thousand head) but was partly offset by increases in New South Wales. New South Wales reported the largest herd (770 thousand head).
The number of chickens for meat production decreased by 10% to 73.9 million birds at 30 June 2008, with decreases reported in all states, except Queensland. The number of chickens for egg production fell by 3% to 14.8 million birds, driven by a 30% decrease in Queensland (or 1.3 million birds) and a 44% decrease in Western Australia (or 680 thousand birds). This was partially offset by increases in New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia.