6 Dec 2014

Dairy production hits record high

2:00 pm on 6 December 2014

A farmer-owned co-operative says the past dairy season has been one of the best on record mainly because of very high grass growth rates.

 A Holstein-Friesian dairy cow in pasture at Okato, Mt Taranaki in background

A Holstein-Friesian dairy cow grazing at Okato, with Mt Taranaki behind it. Photo: PHOTO NZ

Dairy industry statistics for 2013/14 have shown the country's 4.9 million cows produced more than 20 billion litres of milk.

Just over 1.8 billion kilograms of milk solids worth $15.5 billion dollars was produced, delivering an average payout to farmers of $8.47.

The national herd grew by more than 138,000 - or by almost 3 percent - and production from each cow was up by just over 7 percent.

Livestock Improvement Corporation (LIC) industry relations manager Steve Harcourt said the good results had put farmers in a better position after several years of drought.

"The key factors would be very good climatic conditions, good returns encouraging investment - I think a lot of dairy farmers have taken the opportunity to not just pay down debt but also invest in technologies that have helped improve efficiencies."

Dairy New Zealand said the record production and prices helped put farmers in a better position to cope with the rapid decline in milk prices this season.

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