NZ milk production to fall on lower dairy cow numbers

Published 1 October 15

New Zealand dairy cattle numbers are estimated to have declined for the first time in ten years, according to Beef and Lamb New Zealand. Provisional dairy numbers for y/e 30 June 2015 are down 2.8% on the previous year to 6.51 million, reversing the increase seen in 2014. The decline is attributed to poor milk prices and strong returns from beef production, making culling of poorly performing animals more attractive.

Fonterra are predicting a 5% year-on-year decline in milk production due to lower cow numbers, a reduction in supplement usage and challenging weather conditions.  However, if production was to come back by 5%, yields would need to decrease by around 2.5%; something not seen in recent years, other than the extreme drought year of 2013. NZ production is expected to be down in the region of 500-1,000 million litres but whether it dips as low as the Fonterra forecast remains to be seen.

NZ estimates 01.10.15