Dairy cattle number falls for first time since 2005

The number of dairy cattle in New Zealand fell to 6.5 million in 2015, according to Statistics NZ. This is the first decline after nine years of consecutive increases.

“The dairy cattle number is now similar to the level back in 2013,” business indicators senior manager Neil Kelly says. “This reduction was caused by an increase in the number of cows slaughtered and was against a backdrop of declining milk solid payouts.

The 2015 Agricultural Production Survey final result shows that, for the year ending June 2015, there were 213,000 fewer dairy cattle. This follows a record high of 6.7 million in 2014. In the Waikato region, a traditional dairy farming area, there were 153,000 fewer dairy cattle than in 2014.

The results also show that New Zealand had 29.1 million sheep, 3.5 million beef cattle and 900,000 deer at 30 June 2015.

“Sheep numbers have continued to decline. there are now just over six sheep for every New Zealander, down from 13 sheep per person 20 years ago,” Kelly says.

The 2015 Agricultural Agricultural Production Survey involved farmers and foresters in New Zealand. It covered land use, animal farming (livestock), arable crop growing, forestry and farming practices in New Zealand (including fertiliser and cultivation) for the year to June 2015. The survey was run in partnership with the Ministry for Primary Industries.


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