New Zealand dairy herd decreases for first time in 10 years

In New Zealand, the number of dairy cattle has dropped for the first time since 2005, according to Statistics New Zealand.

The latest figures from Statistics New Zealand show a total of 6.4m dairy cattle at the end of June 2015.

Neil Kelly, Business Indicators Senior Manager, said that New Zealand has 300,000 fewer dairy cattle than in 2014.

Kelly said that this is a reversal of the trend of increases in the last 10 years.

“Both the national dairy milking herd and the replacement herd have declined. This comes at a time of falling international prices and lower milk solid payouts,” he said.

In the same one-year period, sheep, beef, and deer numbers also fell, according to Statistics New Zealand.

The number of sheep declined by 300,000, to a total of 29.5m as at June 2015, the figures show.

These provisional figures are from the 2015 Agricultural Production Survey, which Statistics New Zealand conducted in partnership with the Ministry for Primary Industries.

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.

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