Dairy tonnage hits record high
Fonterra broke its record for the highest export month with 246,000 tonnes of dairy products loaded on ships during December, boosting New Zealand’s economy by $1.3 billion for the month.
In March 2011 Fonterra shipped 229,000 tonnes of product, but continued growth in global demand for dairy products combined with record milk production early in the dairy season has led to another spike.
In December, Fonterra closed the door on an export container every 2.7 minutes, amounting to 546 containers a day.
Fonterra’s exports account for more than a quarter of all New Zealand exports.
Fonterra trade and operations managing director Gary Romano said a good autumn and a mild winter created optimal grass-growing conditions ahead of the 2011-2012 dairy season.
‘‘This helped create a wave of milk up about 10 per cent on a daily basis during the peak flow in late September through to November,’’ he said.
‘‘While conditions were good overall, farmers did face extreme challenges including a near nationwide dumping of spring snow and flooding in some regions.’’
‘‘Our farmers have coped tremendously, not just with bad weather but also the record milk flow, which peaked at more than 80 million litres a day.
‘‘Our teams have gone the extra mile to manage the huge amount of milk this season and get value out of every drop of milk.
‘‘From the moment we collect the milk, process it, pack it, store it, ship it – our people have put in a huge effort, they haven’t stopped.’’
Demand for high quality dairy products is still looking strong, with South East Asia, China, the Middle East and North Africa driving the growth in exports.
‘‘Dairy is becoming increasingly important in these markets as people grow wealthier and want access to more nutritious foods,’’ Mr Romano said.