Farm numbers

  • Image, farm numbers.

    Farm numbers describe the number of commercial properties (registered for goods and services tax) that farm crops and/or livestock. It is important to measure the number of farms involved in these agricultural activities because their extent determines their impacts on soil health and water quality.

    We classified Farm numbers as supporting information.

    Key findings

    Dairy farming had the greatest number of commercial farms (33,759) in 2012.

    • Arable crop farm numbers increased 27.4 percent (2,658 farms), from 2002 to 2012.
    • Decreases occurred in the number of deer farms (51.6 percent or 2,238 farms), dairy farms (19.7 percent or 8,256 farms), and sheep and beef farms (12.7 percent or 2,502 farms).

    Figure 1

    Note: The figures are based on the Agricultural Production Census, which includes all businesses identified on Statistics NZ's Business Frame as having agricultural activity. The Business Frame is a list of businesses in New Zealand, based on their registration for goods and services tax (GST) with Inland Revenue. The compulsory registration level for GST is $60,000 gross income, so there is a partial and unquantifiable coverage of businesses below this level.

    Figure 2

    Note: The figures are based on the Agricultural Production Census, which includes all businesses identified on Statistics NZ's Business Frame as having agricultural activity. The Business Frame is a list of businesses in New Zealand, based on their registration for goods and services tax (GST) with Inland Revenue. The compulsory registration level for GST is $60,000 gross income, so there is a partial and unquantifiable coverage of businesses below this level.

    Definition and methodology

    Farm numbers come from the Agricultural Production Census for 2002, 2007, and 2012. The farms surveyed include all businesses identified on Statistics NZ's Business Frame as having agricultural activity. The Business Frame is a list of businesses in New Zealand, based on their registration for goods and services tax (GST) with Inland Revenue.

    The compulsory registration level for GST is $60,000 gross income. Consequently, there is a partial and unquantifiable coverage of farm units below this level.

    Information on farm numbers excludes some smaller farms, but includes livestock (particularly sheep) run on indigenous tussock grassland and tracks the resulting change in land use. In contrast, Land Use New Zealand data includes all farms but excludes livestock grazing on indigenous tussock grasslands, and is not appropriate for comparison over time.

    The agricultural activities are not mutually exclusive. For example, a farm with one or more total dairy cattle and one or more total beef cattle will be counted as both ‘dairy’ and ‘sheep and beef’. The data are therefore appropriate for comparing changes in agricultural activities over time but not the absolute difference between agricultural activities.

    Data quality

    We classified Farm numbers as supporting information.

    Relevance

    relevance-partial This supporting information is a partial measure of the ‘Land use and land use change’ topic.

    Accuracy

    accuracy-high The accuracy of the data source is of high quality.

    See Data quality information for more detail.

     

    Published 21 October 2015

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Related content

Access data files

Land use data

 

Related indicators

Land use

Livestock numbers

 

Related links

Environment Aotearoa 2015

2012 Agricultural Census tables

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