Westland Milk Products joins the 'good news club'

Friday 30 August 2013, 2:07PM
By Federated Farmers of New Zealand

Federated Farmers West Coast says New Zealand’s second largest dairy cooperative, Westland Milk Products, has now joined the ‘good news club.’  The cooperative has revised its 2013/14 forecast payout to a range of $7.60-8.00 per kilogram of milk solids (kg/MS), with a new advance rate of $5 kg/MS.

“It has been one hell of an August.  I even saw someone at Federated Farmers head office tag it as dairying’s ‘mensis horribilis’,” says Richard Reynolds, Federated Farmers West Coast Dairy chairperson.

“Frankly, West Coast farmers like me are counting down to 20 September when we get the advance.  After the rare West Coast drought this year, we’ve got more than an overdraft to start clearing.

“Even if the forecast sticks, it will still be a whole year after that before we get the full payment.  As I am often reminded, there’s a heck of lot of water to go under the bridge, not to mention four seasons.

“Our members who are busy calving will be happy they can concentrate on milking and not have to worry about the perceptions of their processor’s milk quality.

“While it has not been New Zealand’s finest hour, the way Westland handled a shipment of Lactoferrin, which wasn’t up to specification, showed how to front foot a potential problem.

“If we Coaster’s can take some positives from this saga, it is that our customers will now likely say, “these New Zealanders really do take this safety and quality thing seriously.”

“It is a perfect opportunity for our Westpro Nutrition brand, which was recently launched into China, along with the co-op’s new plant at Hokitika making nutritional products.

“In terms of the revised payout, while Westland’s numbers are way up there in terms of past history, a few of our members will wonder why the advance could not match the $5.50 kg/MS that Fonterra reconfirmed a few days ago.

“Don’t get me wrong, the 20 cent kg/MS uplift is most welcome because we need every cent we can lay our hands upon,” Mr Reynolds concluded.