Fonterra Australia dairy farmers are rebelling after the company cut its milk price by 10 percent last week. The co-operative dropped the payout from $A5.60kgms to $A5.00kgms to match a cut by rival dairy company Murray Goulburn.   It said a contract with a customer means Fonterra was required to maintain its price to match Murray Goulburn.    The Sydney Morning Herald quoted an Australian group of dairy farmers, Farmer Power, as saying they’re preparing for ‘war’ against Fonterra following the cuts.    United Dairyfarmers of Victoria president Adam Jenkins told the Weekly Times that Fonterra was being opportunistic in using the agreement to pay less to farmers.    Mr Jenkins told the paper to lower the milk price and push debt across the supplier base, was fundamentally wrong.    He said many Victoria dairy farmers were feeling “angry, sad and let down” by Fonterra and Murray Goulburn. But Fonterra Oceania head Judith Swales said they had signalled since August last year that price cuts were possible and the late timing was because it took time to produce a loan offer.

As reported yesterday the Dairy Giant has announced a massive increase in the price it will pay for organic milk, reflecting the growing  global and domestic  appetite for natural, wholesome food.  From August 1, Fonterra will start paying $9.20 per kilogram of organic milk solids  more than double what it’s offering for conventional supplies.    Paul Grave, Fonterra’s head of cooperative affairs Waikato, says it’s a market-driven price and one  consumers are prepared to pay for organics at the moment.     Greg Hill was  certified organic for six years and 12 months ago he switched to the hub — a move costing more than $100,000.    He says Fonterra just didn’t realise the value of organics and now that they are finally interested, Mr Hill won’t be switching back.    He says it’s no secret the relationship between the organic industry and Fonterra has been strained for some years. So it’s understandable many will be treating this seemingly generous offer with a degree of cynicism.”

30,000 hunters… that’s the number of duck shooters who enjoyed the opening of the game bird hunting season, but some might face charges for not following the rules.  Fish and Game said duck hunters got close to their bag limits in many parts of the country over the weekend, but the on going Indian summer produced very mixed fortunes.     Fish & Game communications manager Don Rood said there was plenty of ducks around,  although  in some areas birds were scarce due to warm temperatures.    Don Rood said disappointingly  not everyone was following the law and as a result they have had their guns seized and some may end up in court.     Three people were injured in accidental shootings including a 10-year-old boy shot in the foot.

Silver Fern Farms is proposing closing its Islington venison processing plant in Christchurch and build a new venison processing plant at its Pareora site in South Canterbury. Chief executive Dean Hamilton said the company is consulting with the 54 staff at its Islington plant on options for closing the site.     Islington is the only one of 19 SFF  plants around the country that occupies a leased site. Over the past year and a half the surrounding site has been re-developed into a commercial business park which is not suitable for Silver Fern Farms future processing operations.   Pareora, just south of Timaru,  is central to many of our deer farmers and provides long-term certainty.
The “Next Steps for Fresh Water” paper follows the release last November of the fourth report of the Land & Water Forum – a collaborative stakeholder group in which Federated Farmers has played a key role.    While outlining a number of recommendations in terms of iwi rights and interests, it also leaves a lot of unanswered questions about what this will actually mean for water users.

US consumers are facing large increases in the volumes of meat protein available to them this season. While this has been well documented, it is worth putting some statistical evidence around the volumes. Chicken production in the US is skyrocketing. Low feed prices for close to two years has resulted in excellent  producer margins, leading to high levels of growth. The amount of chicken available to consumers has lifted 9.1% from 2014 levels. In comparison, pork supplies have lifted 8.2% and beef  1.7%. With no sign of feed costs declining in the short to   medium term chicken supplies are expected to steadily increase. Chicken supplies in the market are being further increased by lower volumes exported, due in part to Russian bans. There will, therefore, be some stiff competition for the consumer  dollar spent on meat protein through this year, keeping pressure on beef prices.

Global demand is driving prices at auction for cows, and prices remained very steady  for a big offering of just over 500.   The cpk range was tight for the dairy cows, with 395-635kg mainly selling for $1.40-$1.51/kg.   Hereford x and Angus, weighing  440-628kg, sold for $1.70-$1.80/kg. Heifer prices were mainly steady on low numbers also. Traditional heifers, 470-695kg, sold for $2.54-$2.61/kg, while the dairy section was mainly Friesian x,   with most selling for $2.18-$2.30/kg. The steer pens featured some very heavy Angus x and Hereford x, and at $2.50- $2.60/kg, these were making $1807-$2125.   The store lamb pens had a different look with a larger number of crossbred lambs that did not have last week’s quality.    The 32-34kg mixed sex lines were back to $72-$79 at $2.24/kg, while 35-37kg sold on a steady market at $2.20/kg.    24-27kg mixed sex lambs were selling for $2.66-$2.73/kg.    A big yarding of prime lambs sold on a steady market, for $80-$117.    While another week of unchanged prices for prime ewes saw most sell for $50-$79, breeding ewes were selling well above works value as demand was solid.  Younger Mixed Age  lines sold for $99-128, with annual draft lines at $81-$94.