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July 2017 Dairy Farming In New Zealand Update

Monday, 31 July 2017 at 12:03pm

image of cow for waibury agriculture investment blog


With a very wet June across the country followed by a wet July, soil condition remains heavy & puggy in both the North and South Island’s.  The heavy rain has been positive for Canterbury’s aquifers, which have been severely depleted over the last three years.  


The start of July saw heavy snow in Canterbury, followed by a good snow dump in the North Island in the middle of the month.  Good cow condition has helped animals cope with the wet and cold weather.


The beginning of July saw early calves arriving in the Waikato and regions further north.  Calving season takes place between July-October and is one of the busiest times of the year for farmers.  

Bobby calves traded at the saleyards have attracted good money as the demand for dairy x animals continues from the beef sector.

July auction results retained their holding pattern, with only a slight decrease in the overall index. Whole milk powder (WMP)  prices lifted 2.6% to $US3111/tonne reversing the previous two auction price falls.  Butter prices strengthened in the Oceania area, with values breaking through the NZ$8000/tonne barrier for the first time.  ASB continue to predict a $6.75/kg milk solids result for the coming season.  

Fonterra have announced that they are to build two new cream cheese plants at Darfield in Canterbury, in response to strong demand for the product from China.  The $150 million two-stage project will see the first plant completed in 2018 with a second to follow in either 2019 or 2020.  The two new plants will “incorporate Fonterra-first technology that will allow the firmness and consistency of the cream cheese they produce to be dialled up or down to meet customer preference”.  Read more about the new plant here -

The official opening of The Dairy Hub in Southland took place this month.  The Dairy Hub is a partnership between Dairy NZ, AgResearch and the Southern Dairy Development Trust.  It has been established in response to “Southland and Otago farmers wanting dairy challenges in the region to be addressed through local research and demonstration”.  Their first research trial is comparing the feed regimes of cows on fodder beet with those on kale. Research to validate DairyNZ's Forage Value Index, a ranking system for ryegrass cultivars, has also started.  Find out more about Southern Dairy Hub here -

Nationwide interest in once a day (OAD) milking is growing with large numbers of farmers attending a recent seminar.  OAD milking can be used either strategically (long-term) as the overall farming system or tactically as a short-term response to adverse seasonal conditions.  Researchers say that the choice of cows is more important than the breed, for this system change.  You can read more about OAD here -