Dairy cow numbers continue their downward trend in New Zealand, falling 1.26% to 4.84 million. The DairyNZ and LIC report shows herd numbers are down by 238 to 10,796 with the average size of herds lifted by five cows to 449. Dairy companies processed 20.78 billion litres of milk containing 1.87 billion kilograms of milk solids in the 2021-22 season – a 4.3% decrease in litres and a 4.1% decrease in kilograms of milk solids processed compared to the previous season. There are now 6046 owner-operators accounting for 56% of all herds and 29% (3089) of herds operate under a sharemilking agreement. Contract milkers account for 14.5% of herds. The average dairy co-operative payout from Fonterra and Tatua was $9.52/kg Milk Solids, a record average payout for farmers, and dairy exports reached a record $22 billion in 2021/22.