A strong season in Otago, Southland and Canterbury helped
alleviate the impact of widespread drought and milk
production nationally decreasing only 1.6% in the 2012-13
Statistics released yesterday by LIC and DairyNZ showed New
Zealand's dairy cows produced 1658 million kg of milk solids
in 2012-13, down from record production achieved in 2011-12,
but still above the 2010-11 season figures.
Both organisations agreed the achievement was testament to
the resilience of farmers and their ability to manage through
a drought with minimal impact to their business and the New
The dry conditions resulted in a shorter milking season for
The strong performance was also helped by an increase in cow
numbers, good milk production before Christmas and a strong
dairy season in the South and Canterbury.
Nationally, the number of herds has increased from 11,798 to
11,891, while the number of cows being milked has increased
by 150,000, or 3%, to 4.78 million.
Although South Island dairy herds account for 25% of the
national total, they contain 38% of all cows. Southland has
11.1% and Otago 5%.
South Taranaki continued to be the district with the most
herds, with 1038, followed by Matamata-Piako with 1000.
There were 396 herds and 236,981 cows on a total effective
area of 76,886ha in Otago. Southland had 929 herds and
532,079 cows, on a total effective area of 194,322ha.
The Mackenzie district, in the central South Island, where
there are 16 herds and 13,364 cows, recorded the highest
production per cow, with an average of 403kg m/s per cow.
ANZ's latest Agri Focus said it was ''odds-on'' a record
would be set for annual milk production this season, given
the record milk price, good cow condition, reasonable pasture
covers, and additional supplementary feeding to extend
lactation expected to support a strong finish.
Those dynamics and the strong start to the season meant ANZ
economists now expected annual milk production to grow about
7% in the 2013-14 season.