Record April milk levels

New Zealand milk processors collected record levels of milk in April as favourable weather boosted pasture growth.

The country produced 148.177millionkg of milk solids in April, up 3.1% from April last year, and the highest-ever level recorded for the month, according to data released yesterday by the Dairy Companies Association of New Zealand.

AgriHQ chief analyst Susan Kilsby said warm, wet conditions had boosted pasture production, and milk production in turn.

She said having more pasture on hand had enabled farmers to milk cows later than usual.

"Pasture conditions have been above average through autumn. However, we did also have an exceptional autumn last season, and so expectations were that milk production would not be able to match that this year."

The New Zealand dairy season closes at the end of May, and collections so far are 0.9% behind last season.

Fonterra Co-operative Group has said its milk collection this season is tracking 2% lower than last year due to difficult weather. That is a steeper decline than for the industry as a whole, suggesting rivals have picked up more of the national milk pool. 

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