Yield

 The genetic evaluation of dairy cattle is conducted by the Australian Dairy Herd Improvement Service (ADHIS), using one of the most sophisticated evaluation systems available. The industry is in discussions about transitioning this into a new entity called Data Gene.

Improved herd genetics, as well as advances in pasture management and supplementary feeding regimes, have seen average annual yield per cow double from 2,900 litres to as high as 5,900 litres over the past three decades. Nevertheless, the average yield figure does vary by state and with seasonal conditions. Recent years have also seen a slowing in the growth trend in improvements in yields.  Combining this increase in yields per cow with average herd sizes that are over two and a half times larger, the average milk production per farm has increased from 311,000 litres to 1,563,000 litres per year over the past 30 years.

Despite the strong increase in cow yields over the longer term, one of the variables placing a limit on total milk production in recent years has been a steady national herd size. One factor contributing to this situation is that the increased volatility in farm cash incomes has led many farmers to participate in the export heifer trade in an attempt to stabilise farm income. 

Average annual milk production per cow


NSW VIC QLD SA WA TAS AUST
1979/80 2,870 3,012 1,984  3,163 3,105 2,958 2,848
1989/90 3,602 3,920 3,122  3,934 4,205 3,791 3,781
1999/00 4,827 4,989 4,349  6,790 6,338 4,381 4,996

           
2000/01 4,687 4,977 3,943  6,369 5,903 4,177 4,859
2001/02 5,030 5,391 4,067  5,933 5,402 4,646 5,215
2002/03 4,996 4,885 4,230  6,556 5,348 4,304 4,913
2003/04 5,093 4,944 4,162  6,021 5,285 4,219 4,925
2004/05 4,925 5,101 3,735  5,862 5,418 4,497 4,983

           
2005/06 5,039 5,221 4,076  5,791 5,369 4,581 5,108
2006/07 5,151 5,261 4,033  6,417 5,235 4,696 5,182
2007/08 5,031 5,393 4,163  5,799 5,907 4,961 5,275
2008/09 5,420 5,807 5,032  6,053 6,355 5,140 5,691
2009/10 5,329 5,518 5,052 5,907 6,641 4,640 5,448
               
2010/11
5,409 5,860 4,980 6,257 6,637 5,379 5,758
2011/12
5,753 6,023 4,965 6,589 5,967 5,636 5,921
2012/13 5,527 5,469 4,618 7,025 5,996 5,166 5,487
2013/14 (r)
5,441
5,632
4,546
6,776
5,418
5,578
5,586
2014/15 (r)
6,437
5,776
4,264
7,220
5,696
6,400
5,872
2015/16 (e)
6,575
5,424
4,446
7,589
6,512
6,008
5,669

Source: Dairy manufacturers, ABS and Dairy Australia