Fewer Cows Produce Only Slightly Less Milk in NZ

NEW ZEALAND - In a year which saw the lowest milk prices in at least 20 seasons, milk production declined just 1.5 per cent, according to the New Zealand Dairy Statistics 2015-16 released by DairyNZ and LIC.
calendar icon 14 November 2016
clock icon 2 minute read

Milk production for 2015-16 eased slightly despite 52 fewer herds and 20,522 less cows than in 2014-15.

In total, dairy companies processed 20.9 billion litres of milk containing 1.86 billion kilograms of milksolids (kg MS) in 2015-16. This compares to 21.2 billion litres of milk (1.89 billion kg MS) the previous season.

“The average kilograms of milksolids produced per cow has gradually increased over the last 15 years and enables our industry to maintain high production year-on-year,” says Matthew Newman, DairyNZ senior economist.

“On average, each cow produced 373kg MS last season – very near the 2014-15 record of 377kg MS and still above the 2013-14 production of 371kg MS. On average last season, each cow produced 4185 litres of milk.”

LIC NZ markets general manager Malcolm Ellis says genetics and feeding these animals well ensures continual improvement in milking productivity of New Zealand dairy cows.

Overall herd numbers fell for the first time since 2007-08, now totalling 11,918. North Island herd numbers declined 122 to 8696, while South Island herds increased 70 herds to 3222.

“The number of cows milked in 2015-16 declined 0.4 per cent to just under 5 million (4.998 million), despite a very high number of culled cows during the last two seasons. This reflects a high number of replacement heifers entering the milking herd in 2015-16, plus some carry over cows being culled. A further decline in the number of cows milked is expected this season,” says Mr Newman.

Changes in dairy breeds continue, with Holstein-Friesian/Jersey cross-breeds now comprising 47.2 per cent of cows compared to 45.6 per cent in 2014-15.

Further Reading

Find out more from the statistics by clicking here.

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