As dairy farmers in Australia continue to battle with hot weather and drought conditions, milk production has taken a hit. Dairy Australia released results through the end of the 2018-19 production season, and annual production was down 5.7 percent from the year before, reaching a 24-year low.
Looking at individual months, June 2019 was down 7.4 percent from June 2018. That was the 13th consecutive month where milk production was lower than year ago levels.
Poor weather conditions along with lower milk prices are expected to take a toll on the island nation’s cow herd. USDA predicts the Australian dairy herd will lose 50,000 head, a 3.3 percent reduction, by the end of 2019.
Once an exporting powerhouse, Australia’s future strength in the world dairy market remains unclear. In 2018, Australia was the world’s fourth largest global dairy exporter, representing 6.5 percent of butter, cheese, nonfat dry milk, and whole milk powder exports. Lower production coupled with mounting domestic demand from a growing population may leave less milk available for exports moving forward.