With Christmas just around the corner it is time to reflect on another year which seems to have come and gone very quickly. And how the fortunes have changed for our regions farmers over the past twelve months. The start of the year saw dairy prices at all time highs with Fonterra forecasting an $8.30 payout (which ended up even higher), beef prices remained flat at $4 and lambs were averaging $90.
Since then the demand for sheep and beef, particularly from the United States has resulted in export beef prices hitting their highest levels in twelve years. Lamb prices are around $100 and wool prices have also increased. Sheep and beef farmers are heading into 2015 with renewed optimism. On the downside, the dairy sector has seen a swing of fortunes that no one really predicted. Key economies like China and Russia have stopped buying with the milk payout plummeting to below $5. Volatility continues to plague the dairy sector which makes forecasting and budgeting extremely difficult.