NEW ZEALAND - Figures released at DairyNZ's Annual General Meeting (AGM) show the 2015/16 dairy season was the most challenging year yet for dairy farmers.
The 2015/16 milk price of $3.90/kg milksolids was the lowest in more than a decade and impacted farmers who last season were, on average, operating at a break-even cost of $5.25/kg milksolids.
DairyNZ board chair Michael Spaans says despite an obvious shortfall in farm income, last season farmers made positive steps in reducing their costs of production.
“Our data shows farmers have become more efficient and fine-tuned their farm management – so much so, that in August we revised the average farm’s break-even cost down to $5.05/kg milksolids for 2016/17,” says Michael, speaking to an audience in Ashburton.
“This is a rare positive from a period of low milk prices and something for farmers to be immensely proud of. Farmers’ abilities to sharpen the pencil and remain focused is key to maintaining our industry’s international competitiveness.”
The 2015/16 challenges were compounded by the low milk price in 2014/15. With no significant retrospective payments from the previous season, many farmers in 2015/16 increased debt to cover costs.
DairyNZ CEO Tim Mackle said the organisation would continue to invest in the industry: “While each year we focus on supporting farmers through immediate issues, such as managing the low milk price, we also maintain our long-term work in such areas as research, environmental management and our workforce.”
DairyNZ’s 2015/16 Annual Report is available here.
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