Analysis of the 2012 National Sheep and Goat Census shows breeding ewe numbers over 12 months of age increased by 5% or 117,990 head. The census, analysed by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, shows breeding ewe numbers increased from 2.35m in December 2011 to 2.47m in December 2012.

The rise is responsible for total sheep numbers increasing from 3,480,691 head in December 2011 to 3,579,219 in December 2012.