Farmer resilience is being tested

with Andre Lietze
FeedCo Ltd

By the time this goes to print, the first of June will have been and gone and we will be well into the winter months with shorts days and cold temperatures upon us.

However, this comes with some upsides such as time off milking for spring calving dairy farmers and snow skiing for the enthusiasts among us.

I’m concerned about the current position farmers find themselves in, particularly in the sheep and beef industry.

I recently looked at some financial analysis that shows some depressing insight into sheep and beef farmer plight.

Even without any debt, the average sheep and beef farm is making very little money.

Add a chunk of debt in there and they will likely be going backwards financially.

The returns have been marginal for years but nowadays it makes for sorry reading.

How can dry stock farmers continue? Who will buy the farms in the future if there is no money to be made?

Ceasing supply

In my opinion while it isn’t easygoing for dairy farmers, they are in a significantly better position.

However, the number of dairy farms that are ceasing supply concerns me. I was told 40 farms in the Waikato ceased being dairy farms in 2023 – whether this is true is up for debate.

But if they don’t milk cows on these properties what are they going to do?

The market for growing maize and other supplements in the Waikato and Bay of Plenty is now flooded given a great growing season. (This would change if we didn’t import PKE).

All types of farming are, as we know, cyclical and farmers the most resilient group of people – and that resilience is being tested now around the country.

Let’s hope payments return to viable levels so New Zealand can retain its position as the premium producer of quality food and fibre in the world.

Recently my business partner and I decided that our company FeedCo would become a gold sponsor of the Te Puke Young Farmers organisation.

We want to support them because we want to continue to build on the great heritance that Young Farmers has, and invest in the next generation of farmers who are going to continue to produce food for the world.

Outdoor classroom

Along with this, we are also working closely with Te Ohomai Te Pukenga this year, providing an outdoor classroom which enables the Level 3 Farming Systems & Primary Industry Operational Skills cohort to gain experience in real life, on-farm situations.

There is no way you can find a short in a fence by sitting in a room reading about it!

A need for young, talented

For the agricultural industry in New Zealand to continue to prosper we need young, talented, hardworking individuals who are committed to agriculture to continue to come through the ranks and we, as a company and as individuals committed to agriculture, will do all that we can to support them.

Well, they are saying that El Nino is out and La Nina is now taking hold – basically meaning we should expect a wet winter. 

All that extra supplementary feed made during the summer makes me think it will come in handy very quickly. Grass growth is dropping as soil temperatures are now as low as 11 degrees Celsius in early-May, and grass growth has definitely slowed down. April 2024 rainfall was exactly the same as April 2023 at 53ml, but rainfall since January is considerably less at 322ml compared to 601ml for the same period last year.

FeedCo has a good supply of milking quality silage bales, hay and straw. 

Get yourself ready for a wet winter and give us a call to talk about price before supply becomes limited.



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