NZ produces record volumes of milk in April as weather boosts pasture growth
By Tina Morrison
May 17 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand milk processors collected record levels of milk in April as favourable weather boosted pasture growth.
The country produced 148,177,000 kilograms of milk solids in April, up 3.1 percent from the year earlier month and the highest ever level recorded for the month, according to data released today by the Dairy Companies Association of New Zealand.
"Weather conditions have been extremely favourable, with the warm wet conditions boosting pasture production and therefore milk production," said AgriHQ chief analyst Susan Kilsby. "Pasture conditions have been above average through autumn. However we did also have an exceptional autumn last season, and so expectations were that milk production would not be able to match that this year.
"Dairy farmers have been able to milk more cows later into the season than normal due to having more pasture on hand than usual."
The New Zealand dairy season closes at the end of May and collections so far this season are 0.9 percent behind last season. Fonterra Cooperative Group, the country's dominant dairy processor, has said its milk collection this season is tracking 2 percent lower than last year due to difficult weather. That's a steeper decline than for the industry as a whole, suggesting rivals have picked up more of the national milk pool.
Dairy products are New Zealand's largest export commodity.