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July 2016 Dairy Farming In New Zealand Update

Sunday, 31 July 2016 at 12:14pm

June was a mix of mild conditions with some rain at the beginning of the month changing to winter conditions with frosts later in the month. July saw more mild conditions but also more rainfall in most areas, however Canterbury is still well short of the moisture levels needed. Long term forecasts suggest this weather pattern will continue through August and September with increased rainfall but temperatures still above average for this time of year.

Winter dry off was completed and cows transitioned onto their winter brassicas of fodder beet and kale.  Some cow deaths  have occurred in Southland with a small percentage of animals poorly transitioned on this quality feed.  Farm Managers are now focusing on the new season and regaining Body Condition Scores onto cows and ensure pasture cover is at its optimum by spring calving.

Early calves starting arriving at the beginning of July in northern herds, and is now in full swing in this region. The rest of the country should follow during August.

The annual gypsy day was carried out without fuss. Many farm managers have stayed put this year given current economic conditions.

June Global Dairy Trade (GDT) Auctions saw a small lift in prices, but unfortunately whole milk prices fell at both auctions. The July GDT Auction saw prices unchanged

Infant milk formula volumes into China has grown by 28%, and New Zealand’s share of this market has also grown.  The increasing value earned from this product is an example of how more profit can be earned from milk, and passed back to the farm gate.

The Fonterra governance vote failed to reach the 75% acceptance level necessary for change and it's back to the drawing board for those driving the review.

Fieldays 2016 was held at Mystery Creek. This year dairy farmer visitors were looking for ways to reduce costs out of their systems, rather than spend money on capital improvements. Despite the current financial situation of many farmers, reports from Fieldays were positive. This mood reflects the latest farm confidence survey which showed a big lift in optimism for the future as farmers readjust their management systems from one driven by production to systems now driven by profit.

Stage Two of the Canterbury Central Plains Irrigation scheme is on track, as farmers in the area look to invest long term with water.