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NZ: Higher milk output, fewer cows

The New Zealand Dairy Statistics 2018-19 report shows that New Zealand's cows are producing more milk.

Recent numbers in the New Zealand Dairy Statistics report recently released by DairyNZ and Livestock Improvement Corporation (LIC) reveal that milk production increased, while cow numbers dipped slightly.

Photo: Mark Pasveer
Photo: Mark Pasveer

Milk production up from previous season

According to the report, in the 2018/19 season, dairy companies processed 21.2 billion litres of milk containing 1.88 billion kilogrammes of milk solids – up 2.4% on the previous season. Average milk solids per cow increased by 3.5% to 381kg. Average milk solids per effective hectare (1,081kg) was higher than the three previous seasons and the second highest on record.

Cow numbers drop

The report further added that cow numbers dropped slightly. The days of significant cow growth may be over, with farmers continuing to place more focus on productivity and efficiency. The total cow population in 2018/19 was 4.946 million, a drop of 0.9% compared to the previous season.

In terms of herds, New Zealand dairy herds are becoming bigger but the number of herds fell slightly. There were 11,372 dairy herds this season – 218 fewer than the previous season.

New Zealand Dairy Statistics is the census of the national dairy herd. It provides the largest and most comprehensive range of statistical analyses on current, historic and emerging trends in the New Zealand dairy sector. Read the full report here.