26 Oct 2012

Dairy NZ boosts its resources in Southland

9:48 am on 26 October 2012

The levy-funded dairy industry body Dairy NZ is holding its AGM in Invercargill, reflecting the growing contribution that Southland is making to the dairy sector.

The number of cows now being milked in Southland has reached half a million, overtaking Taranaki for the first time, and accounting for more than 11% of New Zealand's milk production.

The average herd in Southland produces 215,000 kilograms of milk solids from 560 cows.

DairyNZ chief executive Tim Mackle says Southland-Otago is one of the areas showing the most growth, and the organisation has recognised that by putting extra resources into the area, including more scientific projects and programmes that help farmers adjust to sustainability needs.

Mr Mackle says an example is the Southern Wintering Project, which seeks to understand how to overwinter herds better.

He says finding solutions to challenges faced in sensitive catchments has also been a priority for DairyNZ over the past year.

One of those catchments, Waituna Lagoon in Southland, has seen 40 farmers work towards reducing their environmental footprint by following a catchment action plan, which DairyNZ helped to create.

The AGM was being held on Wednesday afternoon.