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Australian Dairy Production - An Overview

05 March 2012

There are 8,594 dairy farms in Australia, with a national dairy herd of 1.6 million cows, according to the National Farmers' Federation ‘Australia Farm Facts 2012’.

Australian dairy farmers produce 9,102 million litres of whole milk per year with the farmgate value of milk production being $4 billion.

Dairy farming employs 27,500 people throughout Australia.

In terms of the utilisation of Australian milk in 2008-09, the share of volume produced is as follows: Cheese (34 per cent), Skim milk, Powder, Butter (24 per cent), Milk (25 per cent), Whole milk powder (11 pe rcent), Casein/butter (3 per cent) and Other (3 per cent).

Australians eat an average of 12.9 kg of cheese, 7.1 kg of yoghurt and 102.4 litres of market milk per person, per year.

The average herd size in Australia is 220 cows, with an average annual milk production of 5,445 litres per cow.

Australia exports around 45 pe rcent of its annual milk production.

Dairy is the third largest agricultural industry in Australia, worth $2.4 billion in exports, comprised of the following:

  • Cheese: $713m
  • Skim milk powder: $352m
  • Butter: $210m
  • Wholemilk powder: $422m
  • Milk: $70m
  • Other dairy products: $625m

The Top 10 Australian export destinations for dairy products are Japan (19 per cent), China (10 per cent) and Singapore (9 per cent).

Australia accounts for 10 per cent of the world trade in dairy products, behind New Zealand (35 per cent) and the European Union (32 per cent).

March 2012

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