New Zealand dairy production managed to withstand two bouts of unfavourable weather to end the 2017/18 season steady, thanks to a late surge, data from the Dairy Companies Association of NZ (DCANZ) shows.

DCNZ said milk production over the season, which ended on May 31, was up by 0.1 per cent but was down by 0.6 per cent on a milksolids basis.

The 2017/18 season production total came to 1,839 million kg milk solids - 2.7 per cent lower than record highest of 2014/15, when production totalled 1,890m kg.

For the month of May, production was up 6.2 per cent, or up by 5.7 per cent on a milk solids basis, compared with May 2017. Production in April was also strong.


The data covers nearly all the main dairy companies, including the largest - Fonterra.

ASB rural economist Nathan Penny said a flourish late in the season helped to revive production after a wetter-than-normal spring, followed by drought conditions in parts of the country over the summer.

"To come back to this level is not a bad finish," Penny said.

Commentators had expected production to fall over the year, which they expecterd to put upward pressure on GlobalDairyTrade prices.

"In the very short term, there will not be as much supply pressure as we would have expected," he said.

"It may mean that there is more of a sideways movement, so not the upside that we thought would be the case a month or two ago," he said.

Penny said that while the industry as a whole looked like it had emerged largely unscathed from the effects of unfavourable weather, some areas - such as parts of the Taranaki - would have experienced a tough season.