The last time we looked at the sheep situation in New Zealand was in September 2021. Last year Beef and Lamb NZ (BLNZ) expected the lamb crop to grow during the 2021/22 season, despite the ongoing decline in breeding ewe numbers.
However, the BLNZ mid-season update for the 2021/22 season (released in March 2022) shows that the forecast Kiwi lamb crop has been revised down.
Instead of a 0.9% gain to 22.8 million head of lamb BLNZ are now forecasting a 2.2% decline to their lamb crop of 22.6 million head. Which will be the fourth consecutive season of lower lamb numbers for NZ. Meanwhile, NZ breeding ewe numbers have been in a steady decline since 2006. The total sheep flock in NZ is now forecast to decline by 0.2% over the 2021/22 season.
BLNZ note that the beef and dairy herd continue to see growth (3.7% and 1.3%, respectively) and some traditional sheep regions in NZ are now facing added competition for acreage from the forestry sector.