Partners Networking to Advance South Island Dairying

South Island Dairying

 

South Island dairying within the NZ dairying industry:

  • Dairy farming - NZ’s largest single industry.
  • 96% of New Zealand’s milk production is exported.
  • New Zealand’s 12,000 dairy farmers work with or employ another 30,000 people on farm.
  • Thousands more are employed in associated businesses and in dairy factories.
  • Production – Over 1.85 billion kilograms of milk solids processed from 20.7 billion litres milk.
  • The milksolids production in 2016/17 was 41 per cent higher than 2006/07.
  • Population  –  NZ Average herd size 414;   11,748 herds;   4.86 m cows (2016/17 season)
  • SI average herd size 611 cows; 3,202 herds;  1,965,298 cows.
  • South Island dairy production – fastest growing, now represents approximately 43% of total NZ milk solids production, from 27% of NZ's herds and 40% of NZ’s cows.
  • Overall the South Island has larger farms, larger herds, higher production per cow and per hectare. 

 

Herd analysis

Farming region

Total herds

Total cows

Total effective ha

Average herd size

Average effective hectares

Average cows per ha

Nelson/Marlborough

228

85,153

29,859

373

131

2.85

West Coast

379

155,655

69,723

411

184

2.23

North Canterbury

873

672,398

199,288

770

228

3.37

South Canterbury

311

232,678

71,814

748

231

3.24

Otago

439

256,497

88,242

584

201

2.91

Southland

989

563,017

209,133

569

211

2.69

Total/Average

3,219

1,965,398

668,059

611

208

2.94

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total New Zealand

11,748

4,861,324

1,728,702

414

147

2.81

 

Herd production

Farming region Total kg MS Production Average kg MS/Herd Average kg MS/cow Average kg MS/ha
Nelson/Marlborough 30,530,452 133,905 359 1,022
West Coast 50,849,212 134,167 327 729
North Canterbury 289,707,622 331,853 431 1,454
South Canterbury 95,935,671 308,475 412 1,336
Otago 103,298,018 235,303 403 1,171
Southland 233,638,484 236,237 415 1,117
Total/Average 803,959,459 249,754 409 1,203
         
Total New Zealand 1,851,008,259 157,559 381 1,071

 

Operating structures

Farming region Owner-operators All sharemilkers Total herds
Nelson/Marlborough 190 37 227
West Coast 296 83 379
North Canterbury 679 194 873
South Canterbury 233 78 311
Otago 299 125 424
Southland 689 290 988
Total 2,395 807 3,202
       
Total New Zealand 8,503 3,208 11,711

 (adapted from NZ Dairy Statistics 2016/2017, LIC-DairyNZ)

Canterbury and Southland have been the areas of largest growth over the last 10 years. The traditional dairying areas around the cities/large towns are experiencing land use change, primarily to lifestyle blocks. Many of these farmers are relocating their businesses to growth areas, and increasing the scale of their operation. The South Island has a significant number of large corporate farming businesses.