Mild win­ter please - say dairy farm­ers

South Waikato News - - Farming - JILL GALLOWAY

Dairy farm­ers hope milk prices ris­ing 3 per cent at the Glob­al­dairy­trade (GDT) auc­tion her­alds a pe­riod of sta­bil­ity.

Fed­er­ated farm­ers Manawatu/ Ran­gi­tikei pres­i­dent James Stew­art said farm­ers had sus­tained a tough cou­ple of years, and were pleased to see the in­crease.

‘‘It’s a bit of good news. Dairy farm­ers are not get­ting too car­ried away, how­ever, they are pleased.’’

He said af­ter all the volatil­ity and neg­a­tiv­ity it was good to see prices re­cover.

Stew­art said the gain showed the im­proved in­ter­na­tional dairy mar­ket was not just a flash in the pan but a re­cov­ery.

‘‘It is not a false re­cov­ery, which farm­ers were wor­ried about. It is good to feel a bit com­fort­able af­ter some of the tough­est times we have ex­pe­ri­enced.’’

ASB an­a­lyst Nathan Penny said there had been a ‘‘hint’’ of a 5 per cent fall on the fu­tures mar­ket be­fore the auc­tion.

The price for New Zealand’s main ex­port, whole milk pow­der (WMP), lifted 2.9 per cent to US$2855 per met­ric tonne, fol­low­ing a drop of more than 12 per cent at the pre­vi­ous auc­tion on March 7.

Penny ex­pected the lat­est re­sult to ce­ment the Fon­terra $6 per kilo­gram of milk­solids far­m­gate fore­cast.

Stew­art said dairy farm­ers had grass and cows were in good con­di­tion, af­ter a wet sum­mer.

Farm­ers were, how­ever, feel­ing the pinch of the re­cent cy­clones and the heavy rain they brought to the Manawatu/ Ran­gi­tikei re­gions, he said.

‘‘I know we are not as bad as some hard hit flood re­gions, but the wet has been a bit of a damp­ener here. For many dairy farm­ers it has knocked the gloss off.’’

He said there had been a drop in milk pro­duc­tion from the wet con­di­tions.

‘‘We’d all like to see a bit of sun­shine be­fore win­ter sets in. And talk­ing of the win­ter ahead, we hope it is go­ing to be mild.

Stew­art said the good news was that farm­ers had not had to dole out sup­ple­men­tary feed, such as silage, be­cause there was so much grass.

‘‘This time last year, we had fed out half our grass silage. This year we have not had to feed out any. We have it all on hand and it bodes well for the win­ter and spring ahead. Hav­ing ex­tra sup­ple­men­tary feed gives you con­fi­dence.’’

Mean­while, New Zealand First said the ex­perts got the global milk price wrong and it ques­tioned the point of GDT.

’’Af­ter Fon­terra turned Eey­ore over the im­pact of the floods on milk pro­duc­tion, the so-called ex­perts were beat­ing their chest about a big, up to 6 per cent lift in whole milk pow­der prices, but were wrong yet again,’’ said New Zealand First Leader and North­land MP Win­ston Peters.

‘‘That’s the prob­lem with Glob­al­dairy­trade. It has be­come a huge fort­nightly dis­trac­tion where farmer morale ebbs and flows like wa­ter.

‘‘Since Fon­terra only sells a frac­tion of prod­uct through GDT, NZ First asks if GDT is a dan­ger­ously re­dun­dant tail wag­ging the in­dus­try’s dog. Straight whole milk pow­der av­er­ages on GDT tell us this sea­son is only marginally ahead of 2014/15’s $4.40 pay­out.’’

PHOTO: MUR­RAY WIL­SON/FAIRFAX NZ

James Stew­art says farm­ers are more re­laxed fol­low­ing the rise in global milk prices.

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