The average cow is producing more litres of milk with higher volumes of milk solids than ever before.
Figures from Dairy NZ show that over the 12 months to June this year the average dairy cow churned out 4,259 litres of milk containing 381 kilograms of milk solids.
This compares to the 2015-16 season where the average cow did 4,185 litres and 372 kilograms of milk solids.
The report also showed that milking cow and herd numbers have dropped for the second year in a row. There are now 4.86 million cows compared to 4.99 million in the 2015-16 season.
Despite the decline in cow numbers, dairy companies still processed similar milk quantities – turning over 20.9 billion litres of milk last season containing 1.86 billion kilograms of milk solids.
DairyNZ senior economist Matthew Newman said the rise in per cow milk production is a result of farmers opting for cows that are more efficient at converting grass into milk.
“We are producing similar milk quantities from fewer cows, partly because we are breeding better animals and feeding them well.