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There are approximately 5m dairy cows in New Zealand with an average herd size of 419, producing 21 billion litres of milk containing 1.9 billion kilogrammes of milksolids in the 2015/16 season. The majority of dairy herds (73%) are in the North Island but only account for 60% of the cows with the South Island herds being fewer and much larger. The predominant breeds of dairy cattle are Holstein Friesian, Holstein Friesian/Jersery crossbred and Jersey, in that order.
There are approximately 4.8 million beef cattle in New Zealand. Unlike other countries most cattle in New Zealand feed on grass pasture and are commonly run with sheep on hill country farms.
The predominant breeds of beef cattle are Angus, Angus/Hereford, Hereford and Fresian.