Drought Drops Sheep Numbers To Lowest Since 1924, Crops Fall By Half: Abs

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28th May 2008, 02:33pm - Views: 961

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Drought drops sheep numbers to lowest since 1924, crops fall by half:


The severe impact of the drought on Australian farms has been confirmed by the 2006-07

agricultural figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) today.

The report shows that sheep and lamb numbers have dropped to their lowest level in over 80

years, and major crops fell to less than half the previous year's production. 

However, less severe conditions reported in some northern regions saw meat cattle numbers

hold steady overall despite drops in other regions.


Sheep and lamb numbers were 85.7 million head, the lowest since 1924. 

Meat cattle showed little change at 25.4 million head. 

Milk cattle fell by 4% to 2.7 million head due to continued dry conditions. 

Pigs fell by 5% to 2.6 million head, with producers reporting increased feed costs as a



Wheat production fell by 57% to 10.8 million tonnes, with drought conditions in

many areas. This follows near-record levels the previous year. 

Barley production fell by 55% to 4.3 million tonnes, with drought conditions in many


Cotton fell by half to 282,000 tonnes, the smallest crop recorded since 1988 and

smallest area planted since 1987. Growers reported a lack of water and unfavourable

growing conditions. 

Rice production fell by 84% to 163,000 tonnes, with growers reporting a lack of

water for irrigation as the reason for this decline.


Tomato production fell by 34% to 296,000 tonnes due to lack of water. 

Orange production fell by 7% to 471,000 tonnes with dry conditions reported in the

major growing areas in NSW and Victoria. 

Banana production increased by 14% to 213,000 tonnes, as the industry recovered

from the effects of Cyclone Larry in early 2006.

FURTHER INFORMATION: Media requests and interviews

Richard Lynch (02) 6252 6139; 0407 107 931

Ilona Fraser (02) 6252 7480; 0418 202 580

Statistical clarification

David Brereton (03) 6222 5804

Nigel Gibson (03) 6222 5940

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