Livestock numbers continue to decline

We've just updated our 'Number and density of livestock' indicator, which sits in the 'Water quality' domain. Here's the key facts:

  • Livestock numbers declined by more than a quarter between 2002–2020. Dairy cattle were the only livestock type whose numbers increased during this period.
  • Though sheep numbers decreased by one third between 2002–2020, sheep still outnumbered all other livestock types combined by a factor of almost three to one as of 2020.
  • The Manawatū-Whanganui region had the greatest concentration of livestock, possessing 403.2 animals per square kilometre of farmland in 2020