Dairy Report: Fonterra not gun-shy in South America. Mingling with Ministers. Exploring artisan cheesemaking. Opportunites to buy low

By Guy Trafford

The flak Fonterra has received over its recent China dealing does not appear to have reduced its appetite for involvement in foreign counties.

The latest foray has been in Argentina in an attempt to purchase dairy co-op Sancor. Valued at somewhere between US$200 mln and US$400 mln Fonterra is said to have offered US$330 mln. However, they were outbid by Adecoagro who are reported to have paid US$400 mln. Last month it was reported that Fonterra did have a deal sorted with Sancor however, it appears the greater money offered has won out. Fonterra has interests in South America in Chile through Soprole, which appears to be operating successfully and also in Brazil and Venezuela which are both somewhat problematic for internal economy reasons.

Farmers need to be aware of the upcoming Dairy Farmers Forum on May 8-9 at Mystery Creek Events Centre, is hosting speakers from across the dairy spectrum – bringing together leading political and economic views, and discussing sustainable farming, future food and farm practises. With both the Minister of Agriculture Damian O’Connor and the Minister for Climate Change James Shaw attending, it will be ideal forum to discuss Government policies on greenhouse gases and MPI issues.

For those farmers interested in making turning some of their cow’s milk into cheese the first “Great Eketahuna Cheese Festival” takes place on the 14th of May. Celebrating some of the work done by cheese ‘activist’ Biddy Fraser-Davies, who has be battling MPI for a more reasonable approach around compliance for artisan cheese makers. It is a one day conference discussing all things around (small scale) cheese making.

In the US soya bean prices are 80 cents lower (-8%) per bushel and US dairy farmers are being advised to ‘lock in’ prices now (as are the Chinese) presumably in the hope that prices that have dropped on the back of the US-led tariff war will bounce back when (and if) the looming trade war between the US and China fizzes out. Hopefully the market is correct.

Dairy prices

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