24 Jul 2012

Boom time for farm production, but not returns

12:52 pm on 24 July 2012

Primary industry statistics for the first part of the year confirm it was a boom time for farm production, but not necessarily returns.

The Ministry for Primary Industries has issued a combined primary industry quarterly report, with production and trade statistics for the dairy, meat and wool, forestry and seafood industries.

It shows a continuation of better-than-usual pasture growth during the March quarter produced near-record carcase weights for slaughtered livestock and an increase of 11.5% in milk solids production, compared with the same period last year.

Seafood export revenue rose by more than 9% due to higher prices and volume.

However, the stronger New Zealand dollar coupled with easing international dairy prices meant that overall primary sector export returns for the quarter, at $8.3 billion, were down by almost 2.5% on the previous year. Wool and lamb prices also fell.

Forest product export revenue declined by 14%, mainly largely due to significant declines in log and pulp exports.

The primary sector continues to be the economic driver, with total primary sector exports accounting for more than 70% of all merchandise exports in the year to March.