7121.0 - Agricultural Commodities, Australia, 2008-09 Quality Declaration 
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 09/04/2010   
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April 9, 2010
Embargo: 11.30 am (CANBERRA TIME) 09/04/2010

Sheep and lamb numbers fall to their lowest levels since 1905: ABS

Sheep and lamb numbers continue to decline and are now at their lowest levels since 1905, down to 72.7 million head, according to estimates released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics today.

Similar falls have been reported for pig numbers with the herd size now at 2.3 million, the lowest since 1979.

Some areas experienced improved seasonal conditions in 2008-09, resulting in increased production for many broadacre crops.

Wheat and barley production have risen from recent lows. Grain sorghum production fell from its 2007-08 record level, but remains at an historically high level. Both rice and cotton lint production increased from the previous year, but remain at historically low levels.

Key crop movements:
Wheat production up 58% to 21.4 million tonnes.
Canola production up 52% to 1.9 million tonnes.
Banana production up 31% to 270 thousand tonnes, returning to pre–2006 levels.
Barley production up 12% to 8.0 million tonnes.
Sorghum production down 29% to 2.7 million tonnes.
Potato production down 16% to 1.2 million tonnes.

Key livestock movements:
Meat chicken numbers up 12% to 82.8 million.
Meat cattle numbers up 2% to 25.3 million head.
Sheep and lamb numbers down 6% to 72.7 million head.
Pig numbers down 5% to 2.3 million head.

Further information is available in Agricultural Commodities, Australia, 2008–09 (cat. no. 7121.0).

Media notes:

When reporting ABS data the Australian Bureau of Statistics (or ABS) must be attributed as the source.