Agri Update – BDO Rotorua
It is all happening …
Gypsy day has come and gone, the change of seasons is upon us and we are grappling with Mycoplasma bovis.
The stronger milk price is welcome news, however, dairy farmers have got a lot more to think about….
We have the Minister of Climate Change, James Shaw stating that NZ consumers could have an immediate impact on climate change by eating one less meat meal a week. What nonsense!
Every Kiwi could go vegan tomorrow and it would have zero measurable effect on world greenhouse gasses. New Zealand is gearing up to make changes for zero emissions – not because we can impact on a world-wide crisis, but because we want our products to be branded as climate friendly.
Then there is David Parker, our Environment Minister stating that, in some areas, New Zealand has too many dairy cows although he was quick to deny a cap on cow numbers. This view is shared by many within the industry so, in itself, this comment is not a surprise. But, while reducing cow numbers and trying to achieve the same production with less animals sounds brain numbingly obvious to the urban masses, it’s a lot harder than it first sounds and requires careful planning, implementation and monitoring.
A gentle reminder to both our ministers that NZ farmers predominately sell wholesale. There are a few celebrated niche players, but certainly nothing that would entertain confidence from main stream farming. The consistent message from the incumbent government is that sustainable and environmental farming is high on their agenda.
Technology is going to play a pivotal role in the coming years to meet the expectations of not only our government, but the main stream urban consumers. There are a lot of promising things coming out of this sector, for example the Ecotain pasture that claims to reduce nitrogen leaching by up to 90% developed by Callaghan Innovation in collaboration with PGG Wrightson Seeds.
The challenge is for scientists and technology is to ensure that the research backs the product claims and that there is some way for farmers to measure the benefits of using these products.
Do not be disheartened, change is our only constant and there are opportunities here for farmers, such as the Mangarara Station teaming up with Air NZ to plant 85,000 trees to offset their carbon emissions and receiving $450,000 over three years from the Air NZ Environmental Trust.
After the latest announcement from Fonterra of a $6.75 pay out for the 17/18 season and forecast $7 for the 18/19 season our farmers are cautiously optimistic.
This is an ideal time to be focusing on getting your budgets set and monitoring systems in place so you can achieve the right balance in catching up on deferred maintenance, debt reduction and wealth creation goals.
It’s always a good time to come in and speak to one of our team of agri experts