The Facts about Sheep & Beef Farming

  • There are around 29,200 sheep and beef farms in New Zealand.
  • There were about 31.1 million sheep in 2012 in New Zealand.
  • The major sheep breed in the North Island and southern districts of the South Island is Romney. Corriedale and Halfbreed sheep are mainly found in Canterbury. Merinos are generally found in the high country.
  • We exported 82% of our sheep and beef meat in 2012.
  • New Zealand is the third largest producer of wool on a 'clean' basis in the world, producing 12.1% of the world's wool in 2012. The main shear takes place from November to January.
  • The main breeds of cattle in New Zealand are Mixedbreed and Angus.
  • Beef cattle numbers were around 3.7 million in 2012.
  • Few farmers devote themselves exclusively to beef production; in general the raising and finishing of beef cattle is carried out in conjunction with sheep farming and cropping.
  • Some of the biggest meat processors in New Zealand are Silver Fern Farms, Alliance, AFFCO, Canterbury Meat processors and ANZCO.