Navigating global market tides in contemporary farming

Navigating global market tides in contemporary farming

Former Minister for Primary Industries Nathan Guy joins Dom George to delve into the various challenges and developments within the farming and agriculture sectors, particularly under the strain of drought conditions and market fluctuations. 

One of the key talking points is the impact of Australia's increased lamb kill, which rose by 16% from the previous year. This surplus of lamb in the market has had a significant effect on New Zealand farmers, especially with prices in China. 

"This year it's impacted on us quite severely because there's just more lamb in the system at a lower price," he says.

Guy suggests that although New Zealand farmers are currently facing hardships due to this surplus, they may benefit in the future once Australia begins to rebuild its flock. 

Another pressing issue discussed is the economic pressures on farmers due to rising production costs, inflation, and interest rates. Despite an 11% drop in New Zealand's red meat exports, Guy brings a glimmer of hope by pointing out the potential uptick in mutton and lamb prices with the upcoming Easter market and promising signs for beef in the US market. 

He maintains a sense of optimism, encouraging listeners with the thought that "we're only a day away from rain," which symbolises the potential for changing fortunes. 

The conversation also touches on the honey industry, with Guy highlighting a newly announced strategy to bolster New Zealand's apiculture. He speaks of a three-pronged approach focusing on sustainability, quality, and a customer focus, aiming to double exports to a billion dollars within five to six years. 

Despite some pushback from smaller beekeeping groups regarding a proposed levy, Guy remains confident in the strategy's potential. 

"Doing nothing is not an option and we need to get on and really get results for, ultimately, our exporters." 

Lastly, the dairy sector is discussed, with recent positive movements in milk prices and Fonterra's forecast bringing a "bit more of a spring in the step" to dairy farmers. 

Guy acknowledges the ongoing challenges of high production costs but emphasises the overall positive outlook for the dairy industry. 

Listen to the full chat between Nathan Guy and Dominic George above.

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