The 2018-19 cow census shows that total cow numbers have remained
relatively stable, but the cows we do have are producing more milk than ever
New Zealand reached
record milk production per herd and per cow this year, with dairy companies
processing 21.2 billion litres of milk containing 1.88 billion kilograms of
milksolids – both up 2.4% on the previous season.
The latest count showed that New Zealand has 4.946 million milking cows –
a decrease of 0.9% from the previous season.
Executive Dr Tim Mackle says New
Zealand’s dairy sector is continuing to evolve, and the days of significant cow
number growth may be over, as numbers have remained fairly stable over the past
“Farmers have been
focusing on improving their environmental management in recent years and they
have been doing this while stepping up their on-farm efficiency to produce more
milk from fewer cows. More efficient milk production has benefits in areas such
as greenhouse gas emissions and nutrient losses.”
The report reveals an
increased uptake of herd improvement services, as farmers seek higher
performing, healthier and more efficient cows through the use of herd testing
and artificial breeding (AB).
LIC Chief Executive
Wayne McNee says this increased investment on herd improvement shows farmers’
commitment to improve the quality of their herd assets to drive better
sustainability and productivity outcomes.
farmers are farming with improved precision and taking advantage of herd
improvement services to produce more with less.”
“We’re proud of the
role we play to help ensure cows around the country are year-on-year more
efficient at converting grass into milk, in turn enabling dairy farmers to
reduce their environmental footprint.”
A total of 3.67
million cows were herd tested in 2018/19, up 1.6% from the previous season and
the highest on record.
The number of cows mated to AB increased by 1% to 3.59 million cows. The
most significant increase was in the number of yearlings mated to AB which
jumped up 11% to 230,497 – the highest in the past nine seasons.
the sharp increase in the number of yearlings mated to AB shows farmers are
wanting to maximise genetic gain across their whole herd, it is also likely to
have been influenced by Mycoplasma bovis, Mr McNee says.
are looking to reduce their farm’s biosecurity risks wherever possible, which
has seen some farmers choose to extend their artificial breeding period to
avoid bringing bulls on-farm for mating.”
Dr Mackle says the success
of our dairy farmers has real benefits for New Zealanders.
“The dairy sector
employs 46,000 workers and earned New Zealand $18.1 billion in export revenue
for the year to June 2019.”
“Looking to the
future, dairy farmers have made commitments as part of the Dairy Tomorrow strategy to build the world’s most competitive and
resilient dairy farms, to protect the environment for future generations and to
be world leading in animal care.”
New Zealand Dairy
Statistics 2018-19 – view the full report here.