The Weekly Dairy Report: Feed budgets get a hasty review in the wet North as price prospects firm for next season

An unbelievably growthy week for pastures in Canterbury that has transformed the landscape into a sea of green, has farmers searching for more stock and feeding to excess.

Cull cows are slowly being culled as prospects improve to milk until May, and revive production targets that were dented by the slow spring.

This surge in autumn feed will allow any lighter replacement heifers the opportunity to meet target weights late, and ensure they are in the best condition possible by their first calving. 

However in some areas of the North Island sodden pastures and the non harvesting of maize crops due to flood damage has feed budgets in disarray.

With only 79 days till calving on July 15th any animal at BCS at 4.0 and under needs to be dried off and back on a feeding regieme to reach post calving targets.

Pasture growth rates have been recorded in the late teens in the north and mid teens in the south as night temperatures start to cool and wet soils slow growth.

A solid auction last week saw whole milk powder prices improve within a whisker of US$3000/tonne, and nearly guarantee the $6 yearly forecast.

These prices have made bank analysts more optimistic for next year as well, and two are talking $6.25-$6.75/kg ms for the 2017/18 period.

Open Country Cheese posted a record profit of $62 million, and expects to pay shareholders at least $6/kg from this impressive performance.

The industry is struggling to meet the August 1st deadline for bobby calf loading facilities, as the sector strives to improve animal welfare concerns on the handling of these young animals.

Southern properties are still carefully checking for any signs of the return of the velvet leaf weed  in their fodder beet crops, and one new outbreak was found recently in Otago.

The upturn in dairy prices has given grain prices a boost, and feed barley and wheat have now reached yearly highs of $310-$320/tonne.