Figures show that sheep outnumber people 3 to 1 in Wales – according to data from 2016 survey of Agriculture and Horticulture.
The total number of sheep and lambs in Wales is estimated to be 9.81 million. This is an increase of 3.2% on the previous year. The population of Welsh people is just over 3 million. This means that on average, if sheep were to be shared around, each person in WalesN would have 3 woolly friends each! It doesn’t bare thinking about how many each household would own!
The Welsh population of sheep peaked at around 12 million in the late 1990’s. However, the numbers of sheep began to gradually decline, until 2010. Since that point, an increase in sheep farming has caused the number to rise by almost 2 million in just 7 years!
The sheep population in Wales contrasts with New Zealand’s, where the number of sheep in 2015 dropped to the lowest on record since The Second World War. This fall is in part due to climate change that has caused lower levels of rain fall in New Zealand. As a result, wool growers reduced sheep numbers to more sustainable levels. If they did not reduce flock sizes in times of shortage, the health and well-being of their sheep would be compromised. Therefore, the low number of sheep is a decision that stems from the need for animal welfare.
However, New Zealand’s number of sheep still stands (and grazes) at an impressive 29.6 million, which outnumbers people six to one!
Across the world
Figures provided by the United Nations found that China has the most sheep in the world – 146.5 million. However, with 500,000 sheep and just 3,000 people, the Falkland Islands has the highest sheep-to-person ratio in the world with 167 sheep per head of population – according to BT News.
So, when you’re next in a big city, or stuck in traffic thinking about the vast amount of people surrounding you, spare a thought for the fields of Wales where there are 3 times as many ewes as you!
Standard Wool have been trading wool for centuries.
For more information visit us at www.standardwool.co.uk