Dairy cow numbers are on the rise in New Zealand, up 2.7 per cent from the 2016-17 year to total 4.99 million.

That is an extra 131,590 lactating cows, according to new statistics from DairyNZ and Livestock Improvement Corporation.

Statistics for 2017-18 show the amount of milk processed remained largely static at 20.7 billion litres.

Milk solid production continued its downward trend over the past three years, easing to 1.84m kilograms from 1.85 million kg in the previous year.

Federated Farmers dairy chairman Chris Lewis said the data shows cow numbers and production have largely stabilised since it hit record highs in 2014-15, when five million cows produced 21.25 billion litres of milk.
It showed farmers were trying to optimise their systems as best as they can, he said.

“In fact, farmers on average are pulling back a little bit and looking at their own systems, looking at their farms and fine tuning things.

“It’s not about putting more cows on or having less cows it’s about optimising your system to best fit your own land, environment and labour.”

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