10 Oct 2016

Farmer confidence on the up, says Ravensdown

2:31 pm on 10 October 2016

Strong demand for its fertiliser is a signal of farm confidence lifting, says Ravensdown.

Ravensdown depot north of Foxton.

Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

The farmer co-operative cut its superphosphate price on Friday to $310 per tonne and said it would keep it there until 16 December.

Ravensdown general manager of customer relationships Bryan Inch said sales had been going well.

"We've had a very busy start to the spring, it just shows that confidence is starting to return back into the sector and it follows a couple of years of uncertainty. There's been a number of positive dairy auctions and a desire by the farming public generally to maintain their farm properties and the soil fertility."

He said the company was slightly up on last year with all farm products, and it had dropped superphosphate prices to help farmers.

"Normally when the co-operative is dropping prices, it's reflecting drops in global prices, but this time we are providing assistance to farmers in the spring when they need it and the sooner they get the fertiliser inputs on the land the more chance they've got of getting growth prior to the summer dry."

With the dairy industry's drive to reduce farm costs, Mr Inch said there had been an obvious shift to pasture-based systems.

"They're switching back to a much more grass-fed system and are recognising that by extracting additional pasture growth out of their land, it's the cheapest form of feed, and the best way to get positive returns for their farm assets."

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