Regular rain is now being welcomed to stimulate pastures and autumn crops, before temperatures start to limit growth.
Milk flows are good, especially in areas where rain has boosted pasture growth, and national production figures should be ahead of forecasts.
The wet cold spring has affected empty rates in North Island herds,(13-14% rates common in Taranaki and the Waikato) as low dry matter and lack of energy in the feed, resulted in cows being underfed at mating.
Cull cows are only now starting to be seen at saleyards, and are fetching high prices not seen before, with good cutting types making over $2/kg.
With the cull cow volumes 20% behind last year at the works as at the end of February, it appears many dairy farmers are keeping their drys for carryover cows, to replenish stock numbers decimated by the previous years drough,t and poor mating performance.
Dairy advisers are urging farmers to build covers this autumn as the milking herd reduces in size, and notes farm grown grass is the cheapest winter feed avaliable.
Last week’s auction has given a boost to the market and dairy futures bounced back up after the event, although the extra supply in the US and NZ could be a dampener for future price increases.
Globally the EU stocks of SMP are a real concern, and now we hear that butter stocks in the US are 20% higher than they were a year ago, and this will temper any big global bounce back.
Fonterra reported they are testing for palm kernel use, as the call for reduced intensification of our farm land builds momentum.
Lower stocking rates, with better performance, is being portrayed as the solution to the problem of increased nitrates, as the sector strives for financial and environmental sustainability.
Yili announces stage two for its Glenavy plant in South Canterbury, and another $400 million upgrade, as Oceania Dairy looks for more suppliers and the introduction of a set milk price payment.
This development focuses on a basket of higher paying dairy products,( UHT milk, lactoferin and infant formula) and with less reliance on powders, should return better profits and competitive payouts to attract new suppliers.
The recent visit of the Chinese Premier for trade talks excited all in the rural sector as industry officials look for an upgrade of our deal to the level other countries recently achieved.