New Zealand dairy cows are producing 18% more milk than 10 years ago

The average New Zealand dairy cow produced on average 4,235L of milk last season, 18% more than 10 years ago when she was producing 3,574L in 2004-05, according to the New Zealand Dairy statistics.

In 2014-15 there were just over 5m (5.02m) cows producing milk across the country, up from 4.9m in 2013-14, the statistics show.

However, this season farmers have been reducing cow numbers because of the low milk price, according to DairyNZ senior economist Matthew Newman.

In 2014-15 dairy companies processed 21.3 billion litres of milk containing 1.89 billion kgMS and total milk solids increased by 3.6% from the previous season, the statistics show.

“This was a record level of milk production and 56% higher on a milk solids basis than 10 years ago,” according to Matthew.

October is when the spring calving dairy cow hits her milking peak, which the statistics show the cow produces a daily average of 1.98kgMS from 23.66L of milk in October 2014.

The average New Zealand cow is part of a herd of 419 cows, and has 146ha to graze, according to the statistics.

Some 50% of cows live in a herd of between 100 and 349 cows, 29% in herds of 500 or more and 12% are part of herds of 750 or more.

Only 5% are in herds of 1,000 cows or more, the statistics show and the most common breed of cow in New Zealand is the Holstein-Friesian/Jersey crossbreed, as they make up 45.6% of the New Zealand herd.

However, the statistics show your opportunity to see a Jersey cow will increase if you are driving through Taranaki, Tasman and the West Coast as they are more common in those regions of New Zealand.

Two-thirds of New Zealand herds of cows are run by owner-operators, with 17% in herds owned by 50:50 share milkers and 15% in herds run by variable order share milkers, according to DairyNZ.