8 Sep 2015

Dairy downturn may mean fall in grazing cows

3:14 pm on 8 September 2015

Farms which rely on income from grazing dairy cows are being warned the number of cows needing grazing for the 2016 winter may fall as much as 25 percent due to the downturn.

Crowe Horwath agribusiness specialist Haylee Preston said dairy grazing was a growing business in New Zealand.

But she said due to the lower payout, some farmers were looking at reducing feed costs by culling out the bottom 5 to 10 percent of their herd.

Ms Preston said this reduction meant some dairy farmers would have the ability to winter more stock on-farm, leading to a reduction in demand for off-farm grazing.

"For the ones that are just 100 percent dairy support, that's going to have a huge impact if they don't have the cow numbers for next winter, especially if they have gone ahead and planted winter crops coming up in the October, November, December period.

"They really need to lock in those contracts for next year prior to sowing those crops. They could look at their own farming systems as well.

"Those ones that used to be sheep and beef farmers - they may opt to look at that as another option to fill the gap."

She said graziers should speak to their agent or herd owners sooner rather than later to understand their requirements for 2016 winter grazing.