Northland dairy farmers are set for a $637 million payout this season but tough economic conditions means most are likely to sue it to pay off debt and carry out vital repair work. Fed Farmers Presidnet Colin Hannah says the payout announced last week by Fonterra is better than forecast and good news for farmers – although there will be no spending splurge. He says Northland farmers have had it touch with cyclone damage high compliance and feed fuel and fertiliser costs. Fonterra realised a profit of $1.6 billion up 170% on last year and on the back of strong margins for cheese and protein. It set its milk price for the season at $8.22 up two cents on the previous mid point. Colin Hannah says sadly the local farming retailers wont see much of it as farmers cope with bank interest rates of 9-10%.