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Sheep now outnumber people 3 to 1 in Wales

But population is yet to reach late 1990s high of around 12 million

Sheep now outnumber people three to one in Wales, according to the latest figures released by farmers in the region.

The number of sheep grazing in the sparsely populated Welsh mountains and valleys has risen by almost two million over the last seven years, data from the June 2016 Survey of Agriculture and Horticulture revealed. 

Annual census figures shows there are currently 9.81 million sheep and lambs in Wales, compared to 3,026,000 people.

John Richards, industry information executive for Hybu Cig Cymru (Meat Promotion Wales), said the increase was an indication of confidence in the future of the industry.

"There are still challenges for the lamb industry in Wales," said Mr Richards.

"Ensuring that everyone, including farmers and processors, get a good price for their product is vital, and means continuing to respond to changing customer demands.

"Political uncertainties around Brexit also mean that it’s difficult to predict accurately how the structure of future support payments and trade arrangements will affect livestock numbers."

Although Wales has the largest sheep population of any region in the UK, sheep also outnumber people in Scotland.

But globally, Wales still lingers behind New Zealand, where the wooly farm animals outnumber people six to one.

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