'Positive farmers' to highlight Kiwi growth snags
High-cost expansion and over-borrowing has left up to one-third of New Zealand dairy farmers struggling to make any profit at a milk price equivalent to almost 30c/l.
It is estimated that 28pc of Kiwi dairy farmers are losing money at a NZ$6.00 dollar pay-out, which is equivalent to almost 30c/l. Many are now in danger of having their farms repossessed by banks.
The figures were revealed on a study tour of New Zealand led by Cork dairy farmer Michael Murphy.
"The average debt level on New Zealand dairy farms is NZ$21/kg of milk solids, which is the equivalent of €4,725/ac," explained Mr Murphy.
"When you consider that around one-third of New Zealand dairy farmers are not borrowed at all, that means that some farmers are extremely highly borrowed," he added.
Mr Murphy said that the group of 30 Irish farmers met one New Zealand farmer who had been running four farms with 26,000 cows and had been sold out by the banks for NZ$27m at the time of their visit.
"Our aim in highlighting the New Zealand experience is not to warn Irish farmers against expanding in the coming years but to urge them to take only reasonable risk in doing so," said Mr Murphy.
The Cork man is one of a number of high-profile speakers set to talk at the Positive Farmers Conference in Limerick on Wednesday and Thursday, January 16 and 17.