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Southern Growth Warrants Dairy Hub

Southern Growth Warrants Dairy Hub

The strength and size of the southern region’s dairy industry supports the need for the proposed Southern Dairy Hub.

The Southern Dairy Hub plans to be an innovation centre where ideas and concepts are tested on commercial scale herds to benefit dairy farmers and the future of dairying in the south.

Chairman of the Southern Dairy Development Trust (SDDT) Matthew Richards, says the region – South Otago and Southland – is the third largest dairying region in New Zealand in terms of milksolids produced and is the second-fastest growing dairy region.

“When you crunch the numbers, our southern region has some pretty impressive statistics in terms of size and is growing in contribution to the country’s dairy industry.”

Mr Richards says the region produced 16% of the country’s milksolids in the 2013/2014 year and punches well above its weight, having grown at an average of 7.4% per year since 2000/2001, compared to the average growth of 3.6% per year across the country during the same period. (Source: New Zealand Dairying Statistics 2013/14).

“If the growth continues, as it’s predicted to, the southern region is estimated to represent 18%[1] of the industry by 2030. That’s nearly a fifth of New Zealand’s milk supply from this region and suggests there’s great opportunity for further expansion – but there are a number of challenges that we will have to overcome if we are to realise this growth.”

He says some of the effects of the growth in the past 15 years are now being felt in the restrictions being placed on farming and new expansion.

“As southern farmers we know there is some urgency to develop solutions, on southern soils and in southern conditions, to some environmental issues around water and effluent management, and the wintering of cattle.”

“We also need to make sure that we, as southern farmers, drive innovative research to keep our farms producing milk in the most sustainable, environmental, efficient and profitable manner. Doing so not only benefits dairy farmers but also the wider southern community.”

Mr Richards says the Hub proposal is aimed at being an innovation centre where ideas and concepts are tested that will benefit southern dairy farmers and the future of dairying in the south.

The Trust has the support of industry partners DairyNZ and AgResearch for the proposal and is also seeking support from southern dairy farmers.

“Our industry partners are willing to commit $10 million towards the Hub but they want to see an overwhelming number of southern farmers pledge their support for the proposal. Our partners want to see a clear mandate from southern farmers that they want a Hub that will delivers these benefits”.

He says farmers are being asked to make a financial pledge and there are many ways farmers can make this commitment.

Farmers can pledge their support on the farm accounts of PGG Wrightson, Farmlands, and New Zealand Farm Source. Many businesses have also offered support.

As of 2nd April, pledges towards the proposal amount to approximately $620,000 from over 240 farmers.

Visit or call 0800 336 632 for more information on the proposal and to pledge support. The Trust has given itself until April 30 to raise $2 million from southern dairy farmers.


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