The Big Picture

Facts and Figures

Some of the facts and figures about the dairy industry will surprise you.



Check out some statistics here:

For more information

3D Dairy
New Zealand Dairy Statistics
DairyNZ Economic Survey
Statistics New Zealand

  • How much milk does New Zealand produce?
    • In the year ending June 2015 New Zealand dairy companies processed 21.3 billion litres of milk.
  • How many dairy cows are there in New Zealand?
    • In 2015 there were just over 5 million cows being milked, an increase of 1.9% over the previous season and the first time the number has surpassed 5 million.
  • How many cows do farmers milk?
    • The average herd size in New Zealand is 419 (year ending June 2015)
  • Is it true that herd sizes are getting bigger?
    • Yes, the average herd size in both islands continues to grow. 28% of New Zealand herds have more than 500 cows and over 600 of these herds have more than 1,000 cows.
  • How much land is used by dairy farming?
    • In 2015 there were approximately 1.8 million hectares used for dairy farming.
  • How much milk does a dairy cow produce?
    • On average New Zealand dairy cows produce 4,379 litres per head per year.
  • Where are the majority of New Zealand dairy farms?
    • 74% of dairy herds are in the North Island, with 34% in the Waikato.
  • Do all farmers own their own farms?
    • In 2015 69% of dairy farmers who invest in farm businesses were owner operators. The remaining 31% have a part share or equity partnership.
  • What is New Zealand's main dairy export?
    • 42% of revenue came from whole milk powder in 2013 with the rest comprising of skim milk, butter, cheese and other dairy products.

      • Butter, AMF & cream products 16%
      • Cheese 12%
      • Wholemilk powder 42%
      • Skim milk powder 14%
      • Casein, protein products & albumins 12%
      • Other dairy products 4% (year ended June 2013)

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