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Yield

The genetic evaluation of dairy cattle is conducted by DataGene.

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

YEAR

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

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