The Weekly Dairy Report: Fieldays dairy visitors show new resolve to survive under lower payout as the country enjoys a milder winter so far

Another settled week, but lack of rain is still haunting the east coast of both islands as all are waiting the winter moisture recharge, to allow good growth in the spring.

Water issues are being highlighted by the press, with accusations many irrigators are breaching their volume constraints and still some have yet to install water meters.

Cow wintering is progressing well under these dry ground conditions, as present volumes of feed look adequate to reach targeted body condition scores.

More cow deaths  have plagued Southland as fodder beet which has now grown to 20% of the brassica diet, has caused sudden death for a small percentage of animals who are poorly transitioned on this quality feed.

Early herds up north will be planning Magnesium applications 2-3 weeks before calving as good winter grass growth is being seen with milder than normal temperatures for this time of year.

This seasons NZ milk production appears to be back 1.7%, and with an expected 4% less cows, a fall of at least double that is forecast for next year.

Last week’s global dairy trade auction result was stable, but included another 4.5% fall for main product whole milk powder, and reinforced the weak standing of the global dairy market.

A2 Milk Australia have upgraded their profit forecasts and announced plans to increase returns and report waiting lists from farmers wanting to supply, and some NZ farmers will be wondering if they let this opportunity slip through their fingers.

Reports from Fieldays week were surprisingly up beat on the mood of the rural economy, with previous years dairy spending replaced by the other more buoyant sectors.

Dairy advisers report a new resolve amongst operators who are fine tuning their systems to farm with much lower costs and changing the focus from production to profit.

Lincoln University achieves big corporate funding support for its Ashley Dene farm systems study, which will include a project involving the dairy, livestock and arable sectors.