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In 2013 the export value for wool was $0.648 billion and for carpet and other wool products it was $0.196 billion. In total the export value from sheep farming was $3.5 billion ranking second to dairying as export earner within the ag-hort sector.

The export contribution by sheep products alone to our meat and wool industry is nearing 50% if hide/skin and other animals co-products from sheep were to be included in the sheep products’ export value. Rapidly increasing Chinese demand for lamb and mutton (from 2010 to 2013 an increase of nearly 250%) could see better export values in future.

Sheep industry/farmers are represented by Beef + Lamb New Zealand and Federated Farmers Meat and Fibre. Other industries such as Irrigation New Zealand also provide useful information and support on irrigation matters to sheep farmers with irrigation.

Owing to small body weight, smaller urine patches and different animal behaviour (generally not ‘attracted’ to waterways) compared with larger stock such as dairy and beef cattle, many measures taken on sheep farms are different to that of dairy and beef.


What can you do to NZ’s sustainability?

Your focus

Apart from choosing sheep farming as a lifestyle, farm profitability and environmental management should be the key factors to sustain sheep production and New Zealand economy. To maintain or improve profitability, performance of sheep, pasture and soil is crucial for which nutrients, water, and soil conditioners (e.g. lime) are key components. Long-term profitability also improves with energy efficient practices. Water and land have to be managed to avoid or minimise any damage.

Therefore as a a sheep farmer your main focus should be efficient, effective and proactive management of

  • Profitability
  • Nutrients
  • Soil
  • Water
  • Stock
  • Pasture and
  • Energy