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Dairy Farming Statistics for New Zealand 2016/17

Monday, 4 December 2017 at 10:23am

At the end of November the latest New Zealand Dairy Statistics report was released.  This report shows statistics for the 2016/17 seasons.

Interestingly,, national cow numbers have decreased this past year but the average dairy cow produced more litres of milk containing more kilograms of milksolids than ever before.  DairyNZ senior economist Matthew Newman says the trend for increasing per cow milk production shows farmers are opting for animals that are year-on-year more efficient at converting grass into milk – the industry’s national breeding objective.

“We are producing similar milk quantities from fewer cows, partly because we are breeding better animals and feeding them well,” says Matthew.


Dairy breeds and artificial breeding

The report highlighted that dairy breeds changes have continued, 48% of the national herd are Holstein-Friesian/Jersey cross-breeds,  Holstein-Friesians make up 33.5 percent and Jerseys comprise 9.3 percent.

The number of cows mated by artificial insemination (AI) increased to 72.7 percent, up slightly on the previous season. The number of yearling heifers mated to AI also increased.  The average six-week in-calf rate decreased 0.9 percentage points to 65.6 percent in 2016-17 (from 66.5 percent in 2015-16).


Sharemilking structure

Farm ownership structures have changed over the last couple of seasons.  27.3% of NZ dairy herds are operating under a sharemilking agreement in 2016-17, compared to 32.4%  in 2014-15.

Herd-owning sharemilkers (50:50 sharemilkers) declined (-91 herds) for the fourth consecutive season and now account for 19.8% of all herds.

Owner-operator herds increased 188 to 8,503 herds in 2016-17.


Other Points To Note:


Other interesting stats from the report include:

  • The Waikato region has the most herds in NZ (33%)

  • The South Island now produces 43.4 percent of national milksolids, compared with 35.6 percent a decade ago.

  • Milk production in the South Island increased 1.2 percent in 2015-16, with increases in North Canterbury (+0.8%), Otago (+2.3%) and Southland (+4.9%).

  • North Island milk production declined 1.9 percent in 2016-17, with all regions except Taupo (+2.2%), Taranaki (+0.9%) and Manawatu (no change) producing less milk than in 2015-16.

  • The amount of export revenue NZ earnt from dairy farming (2016-2017) $NZ13.4 billion


Follow this link to read the full report: