Outlook: Global milk production on a speedy path

24-09-2020 | |
Photo: Dreamstime
Photo: Dreamstime

Global milk production is on a quicker path and is projected to increase at 1.6% p.a. (to 997Mt by 2029) over the coming 10 years.

According to OECD-FAO Agricultural Outlook 2020-2029, this is quicker than most other main agricultural commodities. In the report it stated that while the world average growth of herds (0.8% p.a.) is greater than the world average yield growth (0.7%), the changing averages are the result of herds growing faster in countries that have relatively low yields. In most regions of the world, yield growth is expected to contribute more to production increases than herd growth.

Photo: Dreamstime

Photo: Dreamstime

Yield growth can be related back to factors like the optimisation of milk production systems, improved animal health, improved efficiencies in feeding, and better genetics.

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Globally: Milk production highlights


  • India and Pakistan are expected to contribute to more than half of the growth in world milk production and are to account for more than 30% of world production in 2029.
  • Production in the European Union is foreseen to grow more slowly than the world average. Dairy herds are projected to decline (-0.6% p.a.), but milk yields are projected to grow at 1% p.a. over the next decade.
  • The highest average yield per cow is observed in North America as the share of grass-based production is low and feeding is focused on high yields from specialised dairy herds. Dairy herds in the US and Canada will stay unchanged and production growth is expected to originate from further yield increases.
  • New Zealand has seen very slow growth in milk production in recent years. Milk production growth here will be set for export which faces larger uncertainties, e.g. due to trade measures following the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • Africa is seen as being on the road that leads to strong production growth, this is mainly as a result of larger herds. Over the projection period, about a third of the worldwide herd population is projected to be located in Africa, to account for about 5% of world milk production.


Source and for more info: OECD-FAO Agricultural Outlook 2020-2029

OECD/FAO(2020),OECD-FAO Agricultural Outlook 2020-2029, FAO, Rome/OECD Publishing, Paris,https://doi.org/10.1787/1112c23b-en.

Van Dijk
Zana Van Dijk Editor Dairy Global
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