“New Zealand’s big six agricultural exports have grown in export value by an amazing $2.6 billion over the past year,” says Bruce Wills, Federated Farmers President and its economics and commerce spokesperson.
“Despite the occasional weather bomb, such as the weekend’s storm, wrecking havoc, the summer of 2012 may go down as the dismal summer that boosted the economy.
“The increased value of dairy, meat, wood, fruit, fish and wine exports this season is more than all the revenue generated by Telecom.
“This increased export value provides 2.6 billion reasons why New Zealand needs to safeguard and maximise its agricultural potential.
“Merchandise export volumes right now are at their highest in 22 years and New Zealand’s merchandise exports are up 13 percent on January 2011.
“Dairy remains a star with its export receipts up 17 percent on 2011.
“In December, Fonterra Cooperative Group was packing an export container every 2.7 minutes. Because January and February were mild and damp in most regions, we can expect record numbers given milk production was up around 10 percent on 2010/11.
“Wool has also increased its export receipts by 29.6 percent over last year. The $818 million it generated in the year to January 2012 is an increase of $187 million. While we know meat production volumes are down, its value is up.
The weather that was so disappointing for holiday makers was great for growing grass, however it’s been frustrating for people trying to harvest crops or make hay and silage.
The weekend’s weather bomb has also been very expensive, with claims the devastation was worse than after Cyclone Bola.
Insurance comapnies will take another hit with millions of dollars of damage to buildings but farmers will have to carry the cost of slips and lost trees.