NZ produces record milk volumes late in 2017/18 season, helping make up for weaker spring, summer

Dairy products are New Zealand's largest export commodity. Photo: Getty Images

New Zealand milk processors collected record levels of milk in the last two months of the 2017/18 season as favourable weather boosted pasture growth, helping make up for trying conditions during the spring and early summer.

Dairy Companies Association of New Zealand data shows the country's milk processors collected 88,812,000 kilograms of milk solids in May, up 5.7 percent from May last year and setting a new record for the month. That follows a record collection of 148,177,000 kg/MS in April, and means production for the full season to the end of May was down 0.6 percent from the previous year.

"The 2017/18 season will be remembered by many dairy farmers for the trying conditions they were dealt during the spring and early summer," AgriHQ chief analyst Susan Kilsby said in a note. "Milk production was hampered during the spring by extremely wet conditions which restricted pasture growth. This was followed by an early summer drought. However, extremely favourable conditions for pasture production prevailed in the later part of the season. This resulted in additional milk in the vat during the later months of the season."

The total milk collection for the 2017/18 season of 1,839 million kg/MS is 2.7 percent behind the 2014/15 season when New Zealand's milk intake peaked at 1,890 million kg/MS, AgriHQ said.

Dairy products are New Zealand's largest export commodity.