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Westpac economists see buoyant dairy prices flowing through next season and have hiked their milk price forecast for next year by 75c to $8 per kilogram of milk solids

Westpac economists see buoyant dairy prices flowing through next season and have hiked their milk price forecast for next year by 75c to $8 per kilogram of milk solids

Westpac economists are now seeing "stronger for longer" dairy prices and have hiked (by 75c) their forecast for the milk price to Fonterra farmers for next year to $8 per kilogram of milk solids.

The economists are already forecasting a milk price for the about-to-finish season of $7.90. If their forecasts were to be achieved for this year and next, it would represent the second, and third, highest payouts ever made by Fonterra to its farmer shareholders.

Fonterra is currently forecasting a milk price of between $7.30 and $7.90 per kilogram of milk solids for the current season - so implying a potential payout price based on the 'midpoint' of $7.60.

Global dairy prices remained at high levels in the latest GlobalDairyTrade auction this week.

Westpac senior agri economist Nathan Penny says he expects a "very modest" supply response to the high milk price by historical standards.

"As such we expect that dairy prices will remain stronger for longer."

He says New Zealand dairy supply is constrained for a range of reasons, including environmental constraints, strong competition for land and water, capital constraints, and labour constraints.

"As a result, we expect modest production growth next season of 2%. While this would be in addition to the 1% growth we expect this season, it is modest given the very healthy milk price. Indeed, following the record milk price in 2013/14 production grew a whopping 10% over the season."

Global supply is similarly constrained, Penny says.

"On the demand side, we expect robust demand to continue. As we have noted over recent months, strong Chinese and South-East Asian demand is underpinning the price strength and we expect this to be ongoing through 2021. Notably, we expect the Chinese economy to expand by 10% over 2021."

See dairy payout history and economists' price predictions.

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7 Comments

When the payout is high dairy farmers send their young stock off the dairy platform for grazing. This leaves a lot of feed for the cows at home. I am wondering if a 2% rise is a wee bit bearish.

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Difference now Belle is that under new fresh water rules, you cannot intensify land use until around 2024 - unless you can show you will not be leaching more nutrient than you are now. It makes it almost impossible for non dairy farmers to take on dairy grazing unless they are already doing it. Enforcing that rule however, may prove to be more challenging.

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Hi CO. Some of us farmers treat the stuff you deal with as white noise. (Cos we tread pretty lightly on the land we can....for now) but is there a difference between grazing 100 hfrs at home or feeding your cows better. Or replacing those hfrs with 15 cows. Similarly what is the big difference in fattening 100 beef heifers or grazing 100 dairy heifers.
More effluent in the pond for the dairy farmer. That could be problematic. But I have always known dairy farmers to know where the best quid is. If it can be done they will do it.
I aleady know someone delving into more dairy heifers. While the milk payout is $8, our beef is touching $5.20, grazing is looking a bit more attractive. Personally I see the tide turning back to grazing if a good payout lasts. The calf rearers have had a bashing this last year. Fattening cattle has been difficult with three very dry years in a row. But then the banks also have to come on board. I have heard many dairy farmers werent allowed to have a grazing bill.

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Co you are spot on,
Doubt their will be any supply response with many farms exiting industry.

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Already the boner cow cull is very very low and late. Farmers milking as long as possible.

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Presumably for many that will be facilitated by use of supplements due to many places being dry. But some are like in our case in the eastern bop we're 15% ahead for the season (347% for the month) almost entirely due to a way better summer/autumn.

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Good news. Part of the REAL economy.

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