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Things are looking up in global dairy trade

Whole milk powder prices are on the up since November. However, a weaker than expected Chinese economy and lower milk production are potential roadblocks for a decent farmgate milk price.

Fonterra’s revised forecast Farmgate Milk Price midpoint for the 2023/24 season is $7.50/kgMS, with a new forecast range of $7-$8/kgMS.

There’s also some relief for dairy farmers with reducing feed and fertiliser costs. Overall, feed costs are projected to fall around 5% for the current season, driven by falling product prices.

According to DairyNZ, total farm working expenses have also seen an overall decrease, driven by feed and fertiliser prices this year, however, other costs continue to experience inflationary pressures.

DairyNZ’s recently updated forecast data on the Econ Tracker, shows the national breakeven forecast currently sits at $7.79/kgMS.

DairyNZ is forecasting an average payout received of $8.06/kgMS, based on the estimated milk receipts for the 2023-24 season and dairy company dividends. This positive difference between the forecast breakeven and average payout will likely bring relief to some, particularly owner-operated farms.

While Fonterra’s mid-point is still below the national breakeven forecast, the recent rises in global dairy prices augur well for farmers. But not everyone is optimistic about this season.

Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) says dairy export revenue is forecast to decrease 7% to $24.1 billion in the year to 30 June 2024. This decrease comes off the back of record high export revenue of $26 billion in 2022/23.

With mixed messages from industry leaders, the onus will be on farmers to run a lean operation on farm.

With input costs on the decline and global dairy prices holding up, most farming businesses should end up in black.

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