More than 42,000 farmers, growers and foresters took part in the Stats NZ’s new Agricultural Production Census for 2022. The survey revealed the national flock dropped two percent on the year before, to 25.3 million sheep in June 2022 and the ratio of sheep to people has fallen below 5:1 for the first time since records began in the 1850s. Beef + Lamb NZ CEO Sam McIvor says there are a number of reasons for the decline including farmers moving away from labour intensive animals like sheep to cattle …and the loss of productive land to forestry.