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Fonterra and its farmer shareholders are on track to report record production for the 2010/2011 season following some of the best autumn weather conditions in recent years, according to FoodWorks.co.nz.

Steve Murphy, general manager (milk supply), said that with two weeks of the season still to go, production was more than 4% ahead of the same time a year ago, when much of the country was experiencing dry or drought conditions. Fonterra last season collected 1,286 million kilograms of milksolids.

“Exceptionally favourable pasture growth conditions since January mean our farmer shareholders have enjoyed strong production around the country, particularly north of Taupo. This is a real turnaround from earlier in the season when many of our farmers were struggling with a cold and wet spring. This, coupled with an early December drought, depressed production levels dramatically.”

“It was a tough start to the season due to the northern drought. Farmers then had to cope with more drought, floods and snowstorms. But the recent excellent pasture growth has meant herds are now in good condition, which bodes well for calving and the new season’s start.”

Murphy said the additional milk would be welcomed in the market where supply remained tight.

He noted prices for globally traded dairy products, while off their highs of early March, were still at historically high levels.

“This means farmers are on track to enjoy another good season, which will flow through the economy and benefit every New Zealander.”

Fonterra recently reported the highest ever month for exports, with 229,000 tonnes of its dairy products leaving New Zealand shores in March.

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