Story: Economy and the environment

Sheep and dairy cattle numbers

Much of New Zealand’s wealth was built, as the saying goes, ‘off the sheep’s back’. Sheep numbers peaked at around 75 million in the late 1970s, and have since declined to around 29 million in 2014 – the first time sheep numbers have fallen below 30 million since 1943. Dairy cattle numbers have grown since the late 1970s as many farmers shifted to dairying, which has proved to be more lucrative. International commodity prices are the main drivers of rural land use in New Zealand.

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Te Ara – The Encyclopedia of New Zealand

Source: New Zealand Official Yearbook

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How to cite this page:

Eric Pawson, 'Economy and the environment - Grassland economy and other possibilities', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 13 April 2024)

Story by Eric Pawson, published 11 Mar 2010