Prices have taken a dive over August with Westpac putting this down to renewed outbreaks of COVID-19 internationally with three straight drops on the GDT. Prices are back below their pre-COVID-19 levels. Nobody’s panicking though, markets are simply hesitant as buyers and the industry bounce around try to make sense of all of this.
An innovative firm called Halter look set to roll out fenceless farming has taken a step closer with Halter, widening their testing of solar-powered, GPS enabled cow collars. Through sound and vibration it can drive cows to the shed, set up virtual paddocks to keep cows out of waterways, as well as detecting cows on heat, sick, lame, calving or walking sleeping or standing.
It’s had 3 years of trialing on a single farm which is set to be extended then, all going well, will presumably be extensively marketed.
a2 Milk Company
A NZ company started in 2000 has hit a record $385.8 million profit , driven by exports and sales of $1.73bn and 34% up on 2019, A great example of effective differentiation based on health benefits in the mold of Kiwifruit, Avocado’s and premium meat cuts from across ANZ. a2 milk is no doubt considered a “superfood” a marketing term that has no definition in science.Whilst all milk contains a combination of a1 and a2 protein, a2 only has a2.
It’s benefits are thought to include a decrease risk of heart attack, bloating, stomach discomfort and diabetes, and an increase in brain function and general well being. It cures world peace too. Nothing’s been proven scientifically but they’ve seemingly been very effective at story telling.
Interesting that the company reports that Covid-19 has had a minor “positive impact” on sales and shows the impact of covid on health consciousness world wide.
Zespri’s revenue rose to $3.36 billion, up from $3.14b the previous year, and this in the middle of a pandemic; again showing the value of premium (health) positioning. And look at this, on average kiwifruit growers got:
a 6% increase in returns per hectare for green kiwifruit to $67,295 per hectare
11% for Sungold at $161,660 per hectare.
These are big numbers. And now the Chinese Government has given Kiwifruit “Key Trademark Protection” status. Zespri is the only fruit brand and the only NZ brand to be recognised in this way.
The 19/20 crop appears to be another record at 400,000 tonnes though exporters are being made to work harder to sell the fruit due to covid. Prices too seem to be easing with one exporter telling me he “just squeaked through”. Interesting to hear that markets in Europe and the Middle East were solid but Asia was “a bit hand to mouth.”
And apples are flavour of the month with a considerable number of orchards transitioning from summer fruit (peaches, nectarines, oranges).
Shipping data has thrown up some very interesting swings with significant upturn in US exports and a corresponding decrease from China. The US took nearly 22,000 tonnes of NZ beef in June compared with 12,000t in June 2019, while in July the numbers were 18,400t versus 9,600t last year. By contrast, China received 14,800t in June compared with 25,800t in June 2019 and 13,000t in July, versus 21,400t last year.
China dropped out because US prices were so high (apparently) so it’ll be interesting to see what their stance is ongoing. Prices have decreased but remain firm. NZ sits in quite a good position with a much lower Aussie production. Season figures to the end of July were that NZ beef exports totaled 443,591t, up 7352t in the same period in 2019.
Prices of lamb have fallen between by up to 18% compared to last year. No airline flights, cruise ships and restaurants has seen the price drop from something like $8.50 – $9.00/kg to $7.20 – $7.30/kg. Flipping a steak at home remains popular, cooking a leg or a lamb rack is not. It’s considered too hard to cook at home and/or if you’re not accustomed to the smell it can be considered unpleasant (though I can’t see it). Mutton, considered a lesser delicacy, has come back a bit though is more consistent. Lamb is expected to slide further.
Farm sales are not as hot as Australia. YTD July ’20 1,212 farms were sold. 9.4% fewer than YE July ’19; and 2019 incurred the lowest farm sales in four years. There was a last quarter surge though with 341 property sales three months to July so it’ll be interested to see how this translates in next quarter.
Lifestyle Sales – sales of lifestyle blocks however reached an all-time high in July with 849 sales compared to 549 in July 2019, a 43% increase. June 2020 sales were 643. Sales are spread across the country, and is is the case in AU, the head of the Real Estate Institute citing covid. The impact of covid seems to be causing a major re-think on humanity in terms of what is, and what isn’t important to them.