Day At The Track

Australian foal numbers dip to below 3,000

01:42 PM 09 Apr 2020 NZST
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Foal numbers are drastically down in Australia this year
Foal numbers are drastically down in Australia this year
The expectant foal crop in Australia standardbreds this season will be around 2,950. This represents the lowest figure since records were first kept by Harness Racing Australia in 1966/67.
As at April 3, 2020 the total foal crop in Australia numbered 2,876, according to Australian Standardbred breeders Association secretary Gary Newton.
The expectant final figure will be approximately 400 fewer foals than the previous season. It will be 50 percent down on the 2000/01 season when there were 6,382 foals born in Australia.
The largest ever foal crop in this country was 13,658 in the 1978/79.
There has been a continual downward spiral in number for 30 years.
Newton said:
“The foal numbers across Australia are in free-fall and it appears that the biggest decline is in the owner-breeder type that are leaving the industry.
“In 2011 the Australian Breeding Panel survey, headed by John Bagshaw, identified 29 percent of those surveyed claimed they would decrease the number of  mares they would look to get in foal. That number alarmingly increased to 54 percent in an ASBA survey conducted last year.”
“Costs and a level playing field are the two main reasons for the decline plus the average age of the breeder is 45 and rising,” Newton stated.
“We just don’t have young people coming into the game. It’s not sexy enough to attract them.”
The national foal crops have been:
Year             Foals
2017/18       3,335
2016/17       3,444
2015/16       3,641
2014/15       3,861
2013/14       3,867
2012/13       4,193
2011/12       4,517
2010/11       4,879
2009/10       5,345
2008/09       5,263
2007/08       5,055
2006/07       5,088
2005/06       6,024
2004/05       5,923
2003/04       6,079
2002/03       5,751
2001/02       6,379
2000/01       6,382


by Peter Wharton

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