New Zealand: Higher production, fewer cows

Total milk volume, total milk solids per and per cow production highest on record
calendar icon 2 December 2021
clock icon 2 minute read

According to the annual New Zealand Dairy Statistics report, released today by DairyNZ and Livestock Improvement Corporation (LIC), total milk volume, total milk solids, and per cow production were the highest on record in the 2020-21 season.

DairyNZ Chief Executive Tim Mackle said it's great to see a continuation of the “more milk from fewer cows” trend because it shows a continuing focus on milking better cows and farming even more sustainably.

“Farmers are focused on developing more productive and efficient cows and farming systems, with a lighter environmental footprint," he said. "They want to retain our unique pasture-based farming system and remain world leading.”

New Zealand has 4.9 million milking cows, down from 4.92 million the previous season. The country produced 1.95 billion kilograms of milk solids.

Favourable weather conditions contributed to good grass growth, while higher milk prices meant many farmers extended their milking season in 2020/21.

LIC Acting Chief Executive David Hazlehurst says the greater uptake of herd improvement services demonstrates farmers’ intent and focus on producing the most sustainable and efficient animals.

“Mating season has always been an important time to get cows in-calf, but now with a focus on cow quality over quantity, more farmers are investing in premium genetics to help ensure their next generation of replacements are more efficient than the last," he said.

Hazlehurst says young, genomically-selected bulls and sexed semen, which generate female replacements from top cows, are examples of the high-impact tools farmers are adopting to increase the rate of genetic gain in their herds.

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