Beef n Lamb NZ is forecasting a lamb kill of between 19.6 AND 20 million to the end of September 2016, down 6-8 % on last season. Prices have fallen since December when farmers were getting an average $101 . By March they reckon it will drop to $87 but then will rise to $92 in June and back to $101 by September. Beef n Lamb Chair James Parson says the lower exchange rate has not improved returns and while chilled product has been consistent frozen meat, which makes up 78% of total lamb exports, has been well down. This is compounded by the fact that China has high levels of frozen sheep-meat in store. Chilled NZ Lamb is currently not allowed into China and the UK and Europe have had disappointing sales figures. James Parsons says as a multi billion dollar industry, NZ collectively invests a pitiful amount in marketing, and Beef n Lamb NZ intends to test some options with farmers.
Landcorp Farming, the state-owned farmer, won’t pay a dividend to the government for a second consecutive year as low milk prices erode earnings from its dairy business. The company expects to post a net operating loss of between $8 million and $9 million in its current financial year ending June 30. That’s a bigger loss than the $1 million to $6 million it forecast in December, and compares with a net operating profit of $4.9 million last year. The projected loss means Landcorp won’t pay a dividend for the year, and CFO Steve McJorrow says Landcorp is reducing the size of its dairy herd and milk volumes, using technology to cut costs, and exiting its sharemilking contract with Chinese partner Shanghai Pengxin to focus on developing higher value products.
Southern Dairy Hub chair Maurice Hardie says the vision of a southern research and development dairying centre is much closer to being realised with a conditional agreement on two properties now having been reached. The plan is to build a facility run as a partnership between local farmers, DairyNZ and AgResearch which will enable local dairy farming issues to be researched on southern soils in southern conditions. Conditional sales and purchase agreements for two adjoining properties have been signed and due diligence will be carried our over the next six months.
If all goes well they will start developing the properties from the beginning of October 2016. The Southern Dairy Hub will include a 300 – 380 ha dairy farm, within 30 minutes of Invercargill, with four comparative herds of about 200 cows each, as well as buildings for research, demonstration, education and farmer meetings.
Aspiring directors are being sought for DairyNZ’s Board of Directors. Farmer leaders are encouraged to apply for two ‘associate’ director roles. DairyNZ chair Michael Spaans says the associate directors must be dairy farmers who want to move beyond their farm and into industry leadership. Dairy NZ is looking for candidates who can demonstrate a commitment to their personal and governance development. The positions aim to provide experience to future leaders, letting them see first-hand how a board works and what goes into making key decisions. Our board also gets value from having a fresh set of eyes and ears involved – it’s a great way to grow discussion and debate.