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Major Commodities - Dairy


As Australia's third largest agricultural commodity, dairy farming is firmly established both at home and on the world stage, particularly since the introduction of refrigeration techniques in the 1880s.

Driving on-farm innovation and using cutting-edge technology, Australia's dairy sector is a leader in creating and responding to new and emerging consumer demands.

Australian dairy farmers are among the most efficient in the world accounting for 10 percent of all the world's dairy trade.

Australian dairy: fast facts

  • There are 8,594 dairy farms in Australia, with a national dairy herd of 1.6 million cows.
  • ABARES, Australian Commodity Statistics, 2011, & Australian Bureau of Statistics, Agricultural Commodities, 2009/2010, Catalogue No.7121.0

  • Australian dairy farmers produce 9,102 million litres of whole milk per year with the farmgate value of milk production being $4 billion.
  • ABARES, Australian Commodity Statistics, 2011.

  • Dairy farming employs 27,500 people throughout Australia.
  • Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Australian Food Statistics 2009-10.

  • In terms of the utilisation of Australian milk in 2008-09, the share of volume produced is as follows: Cheese (34 percent), Skim milk, Powder, Butter (24 percent), Milk (25 percent), Whole milk powder (11 percent), Casein/butter (3 percent) and Other (3 percent).
  • Dairy Australia, Australian Dairy Industry In Focus 2010.

  • 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.
  • Dairy Australia, Australian Dairy Industry In Focus 2010.

  • The average herd size in Australia is 220 cows, with an average annual milk production of 5,445 litres per cow.
  • Dairy Australia, Australian Dairy Industry In Focus 2010.

  • Australia exports around 45 percent of its annual milk production.
  • Dairy Australia, Australian Dairy Industry In Focus 2010.

  • Dairy is the third largest agricultural industry in Australia, worth $2.4 billion in exports.
  • Dairy Australia, Australian Dairy Industry In Focus 2010.

  • The Top 3 Australian export destinations for dairy products are: Japan ($459m, 19 percent), China ($229m, 10 percent) and Singapore ($204m, 9 percent).
  • Dairy Australia, Australian Dairy Industry In Focus 2010.

  • Australia accounts for 10 percent of the world trade in dairy products, behind New Zealand (35 percent) and the European Union (32 percent).
  • Dairy Australia, Australian Dairy Industry In Focus 2010.

For more, view NFF Farm Facts 2012.

Further information

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