Fonterra forecast drops 25c

August 31, 2018

Fonterra has dropped its forecast payout for the current season by 25 cents.

Fonterra Co-operative Group Limited today revised its 2018/19 forecast Farmgate Milk Price from $7.00 per kgMS to $6.75 per kgMS.

Fonterra Chairman, John Monaghan, said the change was in response to stronger milk supply signals coming from some of the world’s key dairy producing regions.

“Over the past quarter, we have seen increased milk supply out of markets including Europe, the US and Argentina. These regions have a big influence on the supply and demand balance and therefore global prices. For example, the one per cent increase in US milk production represents just under 100 million litres of extra milk.

“At the same time, demand for whole milk powder and dairy fats is showing signs of slowing in some parts of Asia, Africa and the Middle East,” added Monaghan.

Fonterra CEO, Miles Hurrell, said the weakening NZD/USD exchange rate had only partially offset the decline in global dairy prices, and it was important to give farmers a realistic assessment of the market.

“It’s still very early in the season and a lot can change over the coming months. A drop in the new season Milk Price forecast will be frustrating to our farmers, but it’s important we give them the facts so they can make informed decisions in their farming businesses,” said Hurrell.

The timing of today’s update is in line with DIRA requirements for Fonterra to review the Milk Price every three months. The Co-operative last considered the Milk Price in May.

This isn’t unexpected and $6.75 is still a reasonable amount, though no-one should bank on that not being revised down again.


Rural round-up

May 25, 2017

Top dairy woman says industry must ponder its future – Pam Tipa:

A major issue facing the dairy industry is “how much to grow,” says the 2017 Fonterra Dairy Woman of the Year, Jessie Chan-Dorman.

“What is a sustainable growth aspiration for our industry? [We need to] actually put a stake in the ground about what sustainable growth looks like,” Chan-Dorman told Rural News.

“That conversation [is needed] not just among ourselves but – like it or not – with all the wider parties, the New Zealand public, who have an interest in where the dairy industry is heading. . .

Event manager carves out dairy career niche – Sudesh Kissun:

The first solo woman winner of the Dairy Manager of the Year title, Hayley Hoogendyk, hopes to be a role model for others switching to a career in farming.

Hoogendyk (28) left her job as an events manager and took up dairy farming five years ago.

In March she won the Manawatu Dairy Manager of the Year competition; earlier this month she was crowned the national winner at the Dairy Industry Awards final in Auckland.

Hoogendyk told Rural News she had not expected to win. . .

Milk price great news:

Today’s Fonterra milk price forecast of $6.50 for the 2017-18 season, coupled with the revised price of $6.15 for the current season, is great news for dairy farmers, says DairyNZ.

It is great news too for the country as it will boost the regional and national economies.

While welcoming the forecast increase, DairyNZ’s chief executive Dr Tim Mackle says he needs to challenge farmers to ‘make hay while the sun shines’.

“By this I mean that farmers need to take advantage of the milk price increases to pay down debt, and carry out the likes of deferred maintenance,” he says. . .

Fonterra forecast signals dairy industry revival:

The revival in fortunes of dairy farmers has been highlighted today by Fonterra’s announcement that they are increasing the milk price for the current season-lifting its payout from $6.00 to $6.15/kg milksolids for the year ending 30 May 2017.

Fonterra’s favourable forecast wasn’t unexpected and reflects the recent trend of increasing global dairy prices, which has fostered more confidence amongst the markets.

“Many dairy farmers throughout the country will be enjoying their lunch today. This is great news and comes after a turbulent few years where the industry has been under the pump,” says Andrew Hoggard, Federated Farmers Dairy Industry Chair. . .

Higher milk pay-out puts $3.5bn into farmers’ pockets – Fonterra – Alexa Cook:

A milk pay-out of $6.15 a kilogram of milk solids this season will give farmers an extra $3.5 billion compared to last season, says Fonterra.

The co-operative has lifted its pay-out for the season by 15 cents and announced an opening forecast for next season of $6.50 kg/ms.

Milk prices have come a long way from last season’s pay-out of $3.90, and the dairy index is now at its highest in about three years. . .

Ways to keep nutrients out of waterways – Nicole Sharp:

How can we reduce sediment, phosphorus and E. coli getting in to waterways?

AgResearch scientist Tom Orchiston put the question to farmers along with giving advice on good management practices onfarm at Dairy NZ’s Farmers Forum on May 4.

Sediment in waterways reduced the habitat and disrupted the eco-system in streams, he said. . . 

Lewis shows her class – Alan Williams:

Vivienne Lewis is responsible for the results of one of the biggest shearing jobs in New Zealand and the work has won her the NZ Wool Classers Association crossbred wool merit award.

Her team handled the shearing of the 30,000 ewes, 10,000 two-tooths, 12,000 lambs and 700 rams on the sprawling Ngamatea Station near Taihape in the central North Island.

It was a very big clip and the Canterbury Wool Scour-sponsored award was won for the manner of its preparation and classing and presented at the association’s annual meeting in Christchurch in mid-May. . . .

Beef + Lamb New Zealand confirms board positions:

The Directors of Beef + Lamb New Zealand have re-elected Northland farmer James Parsons as the Chairman for another year.

Parsons has been the Chairman of Beef + Lamb New Zealand since 2014 and has represented the Northern North Island as its Farmer Director since 2009.

The Board has also elected Gore farmer, and Southern South Island Farmer Director Andrew Morrison, as the Deputy Chairman, when it met for its May meeting. . .


From $4.25 to $6.15

May 25, 2017

A year ago Fonterra announced an opening forecast milk payout of $.425 for the 2016-17 season.

The forecast has gradually crept up as world prices increased and yesterday the co-operative announced a forecast payout of $6.15.

Chairman John Wilson said the increase reflects the strong fundamentals supporting global dairy markets. “World dairy prices have risen in recent months and as we near the end of the season we have more visibility and certainty which makes us confident of our $6.15 position,” Mr Wilson said.

Fonterra also confirmed its forecast earnings per share range of 45 to 55 cents for the 2017 financial year, as it continues to target a full year dividend of 40 cents per share. “Some of the challenges we faced in the third quarter could continue, but the business is committed to a strong fourth quarter particularly in Ingredients sales. This means we have been able to confirm the earnings per share range.” Mr Wilson said.

“The higher forecast Farmgate Milk Price of $6.15 per kgMS and the target dividend of 40 cents per share gives a forecast cash payout of $6.55 for a 100% shared-up farmer which is good news for our farmers and their communities,” he said.

In a further signal of confidence in the market outlook for dairy, the Co-operative is forecasting an improved Farmgate Milk Price of $6.50 per kgMS for the 2018 season. The forecast earnings range for the 2018 financial year will be announced around the beginning of August.

“The increase in the forecast Milk Price for the current season and the improved forecast for 2017/18 will be welcome news for our farmers following two challenging seasons on farm,” Mr Wilson said.

“Stronger production in March and April has partly offset lower peak milk production and collections are now expected to be down 3% for the season, a much better outcome for our farmers than had been anticipated earlier in the year,” Mr Wilson said.

The last few seasons have been very tough, especially for those new to the industry who didn’t have the good payouts the preceded the downturn.

The increased forecast for the current season and an even better one for the coming season is very welcome.

It will be interesting to see if it has an impact on farm sales.

Some farmers, and some banks, have been holding selling farms until the payout increased in the expectation land prices  will too.


Fonterra forecast payout up 75c to $6

November 18, 2016

Welcome news:

Fonterra Co-operative Group Limited today increased its 2016/17 forecast Farmgate Milk Price by 75 cents to $6.00 per kgMS.

When combined with the forecast earnings per share range for the 2017 financial year of 50 to 60 cents, the total payout available to farmers in the current season is forecast to be $6.50 to $6.60 before retentions.

Chairman John Wilson said the increase reflects improvements in pricing since September, following the gradual rebalancing of global supply and demand.

“We’ve seen falling production in the major exporting regions, particularly Europe and Australia, and an unprecedented decline in New Zealand milk supply due to wetter than normal spring conditions across most regions. On balance, demand continues to be firm. As a result there has been a steady improvement in global dairy commodity prices and this is reflected in the improved forecast.

“We are very mindful that farm incomes will be affected this year because of lower milk production so we will be doing everything possible to build on our good start to the financial year and deliver the highest possible total payout to our farmers,” said Mr Wilson.

First Quarter Performance Update

Fonterra’s first quarter revenue of $3.8 billion is up six per cent on the same period last year. Sales volumes are up two per cent to 4.9 billion litres liquid milk equivalent (LME), while the gross margin of 22 per cent remains largely unchanged.

Chief Executive Theo Spierings said the first quarter revenue gains reflected broad-based volume and margin growth across the business, and an ongoing focus on cost controls.

“Our operating expenses have reduced by two per cent to $621 million and we continue to keep a close rein on them, in line with the financial discipline shown last year,” he said.

The Co-operative has moved an additional 128 million litres LME into higher-value consumer and foodservice products compared with the same period last year.

“The consumer and foodservice business achieved an improved gross margin of 31 per cent, up from 28 per cent. This reflects the increasing strength of our brands in key markets and our focus on chef-led solutions in foodservice.”

Mr Spierings said while the first quarter performance was pleasing, the Co-operative’s earnings face emerging head-winds for the remainder of the financial year.

“Our current milk collection forecast is 1,460 million kilograms of milk solids (kgMS), down seven per cent on last season, and this is constraining sales.

“In addition there is a potential impact from the price of Milk Price reference products, such as whole milk powder, rising faster than non-reference products.”

Mr Spierings said that, given the Co-operative’s stronger sales performance and lower production volumes, it continues to monitor its inventory and contracted sales position closely.

Chairman John Wilson said the Co-operative has had a strong start to the year.

“The unchanged earnings guidance range of 50 to 60 cents took into account the fact that a higher milk price had the potential to influence margins across the business. However, we do expect this volatility to continue which could impact both milk price and earnings guidance. We will keep our farmers and investors updated as we move through the year,” he said. . .

The wet spring has led to lower production over most of the country but if the forecast is realised, all but the least efficient farms will be safely above break-even.

Debt repayment will be a priority on most farms, but this level of payout will enable more spending on businesses that service and supply farms.


GDT and Fonterra’s forecast payout up

September 21, 2016

The GlobalDairyTrade price index increased by 1.7% in this morning’s auction.

That was less than analysts and expected and whole milk was down .2%.

However, Fonterra is obviously confident that the upward trend in prices will continue and has increased its farm gate forecast milk price:

Fonterra Co-operative Group Limited today increased its 2016/17 forecast Farmgate Milk Price by 50 cents to $5.25 per kgMS.

When combined with the forecast earnings per share range for the 2017 financial year of 50 to 60 cents, the total payout available to farmers in the current season is forecast to be $5.75 to $5.85 before retentions.

Chairman John Wilson said that since the Co-operative last reviewed its forecast Milk Price in August, global milk supply has continued to reduce and demand has remained stable.

“Milk production in key dairying regions globally is reducing in response to low milk prices. Milk production in the EU for 2016 is beginning to flatten out and our New Zealand milk collection is currently more than 3 per cent lower than last season.

“While we have seen some improvement in GDT auction prices recently, the high NZD/USD exchange rate is offsetting some of these gains.

“There is still volatility in global dairy markets and we will continue to keep our forecast updated for our farmers over the coming months,” said Mr Wilson.

It’s only a forecast.

Farmers and sharemilkers will still be very cautious but it’s very welcome news for the industry, those who service and supply it and the wider economy.


Fonterra payout steady

August 1, 2016

Fonterra has announced the forecast milk payout will remain at $4.25 and the  forecast earnings per share range for this season of 50 to 60 cents.

If the company achieves the higher figure it would make a total payout of $4.75 to $4.85. That’s still below break-even for many but given the continuing gloomy outlook for milk it’s not unexpected.

Chairman John Wilson said the solid forecast earnings per share range reflects performance improvements across the business and would be welcomed by farmers. However, with the Farmgate Milk Price forecast remaining at $4.25 per kgMS, it is another financially challenging season for farmers.

“The Co-operative is aware of how tough the situation on farm remains. We are focused on delivering as much cash as possible to our farmers by bringing payments forward while maintaining a strong balance sheet. This forecast is our best estimate at this early stage of the season. We will continue to update our farmers as we move through the season.”

Mr Wilson said the $4.25 Farmgate Milk Price reflects the continuing global uncertainty and the high NZD/USD exchange rate which continues to impact the competiveness of New Zealand dairy exports.

“The recent weakening of the Euro, combined with the continued strength of the New Zealand dollar, has meant a price advantage for European export dairy products.”

“We expect global milk supply and demand to come into balance over the course of this season. Farmers globally are producing less milk in response to lower prices and we are forecasting a three per cent reduction in our New Zealand milk collection for this season.”

Farmers here have seen the signals and have reacted to them. Farmers overseas, protected by subsidies, have been slower to cut production but they too are beginning to face the market, cut their costs and reduce production.

Chief Executive Theo Spierings said the returns from the ingredients, consumer and foodservice businesses continue to grow in-line with Fonterra’s business strategy to convert more milk into higher returning products.

“We are seeing the benefits of our investments in manufacturing over recent years. We now have more flexibility to make the right products at the least cost, delivering better returns for our farmers’ milk.

“Our good progress in continuing to increase value through our consumer and foodservice businesses, particularly in important markets such as China, Malaysia, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Oceania and Latin America, is reflected in the lift in the earnings per share forecast.

“Constantly improving the performance of our business is an absolute priority and puts us in a strong position to create more value for our farmers. We are generating significant improvements and cash benefits through our ongoing business transformation that contribute to both our Farmgate Milk Price and our earnings,” said Mr Spierings.

Commodity sales are bread and butter, added value is the jam and cream which gives better returns and we need more of that.


Farmers don’t want return to subsidies

March 14, 2016

Finance Minister Bill English has ruled out a Government bailout for struggling farmers to prevent widespread foreclosures.

“The Government has in place a system for dealing with hardship because you are going to see, for a small number of dairy farming families, some real distress.”

That is appropriate, a bailout isn’t.

The Government’s role was to provide a stable framework, such as low interest rates and favourable changes to the Resource Management Act (RMA), he said.

The dairy downturn is a short term problem. A stable framework provides a long term foundation which enables businesses to survive and prosper.

“If the opposition want to support the dairy industry they should vote for the TPP (Trans Pacific Partnership) and the changes in the RMA.” . . 

These won’t alleviate the short term pain of the low milk price but they will improve the medium to long term outlook.

Opposition MPs have other ideas:

Labour leader Andrew Little has called for banks to be “stiff armed” into not forcing dairy farmers off their land, warning that could see more farms fall into overseas ownership.

That is the sort of irresponsible and stupid behaviour you might expect in a banana republic.

Banks and farms are private businesses and government has no business meddling in them.

Some farms were subject to forced sales when the milk payout was above $8.

There will be some now it is so low but that is a matter to be sorted out by the banks, the farmers and their advisers.

His call came amid calculations by the Reserve Bank that in a worst case scenario up to 15 per cent of the $40 billion in dairy farm debt – equivalent to more than $5 billion – could be lost to the banks. . . 

That is very much a worst cast scenario.

Predictions in the mid to late 1980s that large numbers of farmers would be forced off their farms were wrong.

Banks knew that a flood of forced sales would depress land and stock values, further eroding equity and making the situation worse for lenders and borrowers.

That hasn’t changed.

A few of the worst cases will end in forced sales and those businesses which haven’t already acted to reduce costs and/or find other income will be on a very tight rein.

But banks will be prepared to let most businesses get through this. When, as it will, the milk price improves they will start addressing structural issues with those businesses which have them.

Something that appears to have escaped Little, is that small businesses which service and supply farms are probably more at risk than farms and no-one is suggesting they be bailed out.


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