Agribusiness: Rabobank Monthly Update

Rabobank’s Agribusiness Monthly highlights both the good and bad in New Zealand agribusiness right now.

Each month Rabobank’s Agribusiness Monthly provides timely information and analysis on agricultural conditions, commodity price updates and commentary on the latest sectoral trends and developments. A quick rundown of April’s highlights is as follows:


Favourable weather conditions were welcome over the past month, leading to stable milk production, but milk flows are still 2% lower year to date.

Base milk price cuts make for a challenging environment.

According to Statistics New Zealand, exports of dairy products in February increased 9.2% to $992 million from the year earlier, due to gains in both the value and volume of products such as butter and cheese.


New Zealand farmgate prices have remained relatively stable so far in 2016, particularly in light of a volatile currency, slow demand from the US and a spike in dairy-related cattle slaughter.

Rabobank has predicted earlier seasonal cow culling this year as dairy farmers look to trim herds as a result of the low dairy price environment. However total cattle slaughter for the season thus far remains well below last year’s volumes.


According to Rabobank, lamb slaughter volumes were down just 1% this season compared to last (which equates to 156,000 head). This tighter supply environment is expected to underpin higher prices.

In other news,   Beef + Lamb New Zealand is calling for entries in the 2016 Beef + Lamb New Zealand Sheep Industry Awards that will be held in Masterton at Copthorne Hotel and Resort, Solway Park on 6 July.

This year’s awards include:

  • Sheep Industry Innovation Award
  • Significant Contribution to the Sheep Industry Award
  • Sheep Industry Science Award
  • Sheep Industry Trainer of the Year
  • Sheep Industry Supplier of the Year
  • Sheep Industry Emerging Talent Award
  • New Zealand Terminal Worth Award
  • New Zealand Maternal Worth Award
  • Terminal Trait Leader for Lamb Survival Award
  • Maternal Trait Leader for Lamb Survival Award

Beef + Lamb New Zealand Chief Executive, Dr Scott Champion said the awards are a great way to showcase the sheep industry and celebrate those who are making important contributions in a range of ways.

“These awards will acknowledge the introduction of better genetics in the New Zealand sheep flock that has seen production lift significantly with fewer animals and we’ll celebrate the innovators and trainers who are improving farming systems and developing our people,” Champion said.

Nominations should be with Beef + Lamb New Zealand by 15 April 2016. The entry information and competition criteria can be downloaded at


Wool is New Zealand’s 14th largest commodity export, with data published by Statistics New Zealand showing the country exported $70 million worth of wool in February. In the 12 months through February, the value of New Zealand wool exports rose 7.1 million to $827 million. But according to an AgriHQ analyst, the country’s wool clip is declining as sheep numbers fall to the lowest levels in more than 70 years after farmers chasing higher returns converted to dairy, or focused more on meat producing sheep breeds. Concern about potential drought heading into summer had also prompted many farmers to reduce their flocks this season.

According to Rabobank, New Zealand Wool prices remian strong, despite coming off the earlier peaks.


Read Canstar's Agribusiness report

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