Otago now has 5% of the national dairy cow herd. Photo from
New Zealand's milk production leaped 11.3% last season,
going down as the most productive on record.
The 2011-12 New Zealand dairy statistics report, released by
Livestock Improvement Corp and DairyNZ, showed average
production per cow reached a record 364kg of milksolids and
more cows being milked resulted in dairy companies processing
19.1 billion litres of milk containing 1.69 billion kg ms in
the year ended May.
Milk production per hectare of 1028kg surpassed the 1000kg
mark for the first time. Favourable weather conditions were a
The milk production increase was the first double-digit
increase since 2000-01, the report said.
Cow numbers milked increased by 105,500, or up 2.3%, to 4.6
million cows, while the total number of herds increased by
63, to 11,798, which was the fourth consecutive season of
Herds run under share-milking agreements eased to 34.2% (4034
herds) while, within that, 2218 herds were run as 50:50
Average herd size was 393, up seven cows on the previous
season, which was assisted by the expansion of the dairy herd
in the South Island.
The national average herd size a decade ago was only 271
A quarter of all dairy cows were in the Waikato region,
followed by North Canterbury (12%), Southland (11%) and
Taranaki (10%). It was the first time Southland had surpassed
Taranaki in cow numbers.
In Otago, which boasted 5% of the national dairy cow herd,
there were 230,837 dairy cows with an average herd size of
Those cows produced a total of 87,034,070kg ms, with an
average of 218,131kg ms per herd.
The trend of increasingHolstein-Friesian/Jersey crossbred
cows continued, with that breed comprising 41% of the
national herd in 2011-12, while it was only 23% a decade ago.
Holstein-Friesian cows had declined from 54% in 2001-02 to
40% in 2011-12.
Dairy farm land prices had been relatively steady for the
past two seasons. The weighted average sale price of dairy
farms ($4.53 million) increased 8.7% in 2011-12, while the
weighted average sale price per hectare of $32,123 was
similar to the previous two seasons.