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Westland forecast follows Fonterra’s suit

30 July 2014

Westland forecast follows Fonterra’s suit

The dairy cooperative, Westland Milk Products, has charted a similar course to Fonterra’s benchmark forecast released yesterday for the current 2014/15 season, by announcing a pay-out forecast of $6 to $6.40 per kilogram of Milksolids (kg/MS).

“Given Fonterra’s announcement yesterday, farmer-shareholders on the Coast appreciate this early heads-up from our co-op,” says Renee Rooney, Federated Farme0rs Dairy chairperson.

“Even better is firming confirmation of the 2013/14 final payout in the $7.50 - $7.70 kg/MS range. Of course we’ve got retentions on top but it is set to be a good payout and Westland’s supplier communication has been pretty good.

“All across the country we are going to see dairy farmers tightening their belts, having an immediate affect on the economic performance of our rural communities. That will ultimately ‘trickle up’ to our larger urban centres.

“It is safe to say that dairy farmers will be sitting on their wallets focussing only on what we need. Ironically, it is good to see the dollar finally starting to correct as that ought to help the co-op as an exporter.

“Westland pumps about $450 million into the West Coast economy and over $100 million into Canterbury. Some 2.3 percent of all jobs on the Coast and the top of the South Island hinge on what we do. Each of our cows generates $3,599 for these regions too.

“The ground has been prepped for a $102 million new multi purpose nutritionals dryer. That ought to be ready by next August and shows how confident the co-op is in the future.

“What’s happening is a blip but we need to suck it up and get on with farming. Welcome to the life of an exporter.

“The trend and the future remains very positive. We know our big brother Fonterra is investing heavily into new kit so it is not all doom and gloom. As long as you sensibly farm for the medium term you won’t lose your shirt.

“For those dairy farmers who are highly leveraged they will feel this. If you haven’t already, you should be talking to your bank, accountant and farm consultant.

“Prioritise what you really need to be productive and compliant, which includes a Feds membership. Already this year, we’ve saved farms on the Coast several thousand dollars by way of earthquake building compliance,” concluded Mrs Rooney.

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