With another National Fieldays done and dusted for the year it is an opportune time to reflect on the current state of New Zealand’s primary sector.
But with a few notes of caution.
The scene at the Fieldays will be pretty positive, Rabobank NZ chief executive Todd Charteris told Dairy News.
“Milk prices have rebounded pretty strongly… the forecast for next year is strong, a little bit of softening in the dollar which will help exporters.
“The outlook for dairy is certainly strong which dominates that part of the country where the Fieldays is held.”
And other commodities are also looking good. Sheep and beef continue strong and horticulture is buzzing.
“We saw that with the recent release of extra licences (for SunGold) by Zespri and the subscriptions that were chasing those licences are a great indication of confidence.
“Things are really positive so that is something to be excited about.”
BNZ senior economist Doug Steel says overall he thinks this year’s Fieldays will be upbeat.
“It’s a great event for farmers to get off farm and talk with like-minded people.” But as is often the case with farming, the weather will play a big part in the final numbers.
On the economic side there are strong opposing forces to consider in the primary sector.
“Revenues and cashflow are buoyant for many across the primary sector so that’s a big plus. But there’s been concern about possible policy changes including tax and the environment as well as ongoing global trade tensions. Meanwhile, interest rates are low but there are concerns about the influence of proposed bank capital changes.
“So a lot of pluses and minuses to weigh up. But overall I reckon it will be another good one.”
ASB senior rural economist Nathan Penny says he thinks the mood will be cautiously optimistic.
“There are good positive signs for dairy, and more broadly across agriculture there are many sectors that are doing pretty well.
“The sheep and beef sector… arguably you could say the lamb sector is in rude health and horticulture is going great guns.
“Given the outlook for incomes you would expect the farming sector to be generally pretty positive and for punters to be cautiously optimistic.”
With capital gains tax no longer on the agenda “we can move on and that may help the mood as well”.
ASB will have its site as usual and a big presence. “I am looking forward to meeting farmers and whoever else is about. My view and the bank’s view is pretty positive about the long-term outlook for the sector.”
Meanwhile Charteris says from Rabobank’s point of view it is an important event on the calendar. “We can host a number of our clients from all over the country. It is important that we do that.”
Interesting activities in their marquee will include hosting the trade delegation from the European Union.
“The NZ-EU trade negotiations are topical so we have a session with a group of them on the Wednesday which I think will be interesting.
“Also a session on a recent report by Blake Holgate, one of our research analysts, on carbon farming and some of the key considerations for New Zealand farmers if they are thinking about planting trees on their properties. There are interesting topics which hopefully our clients will appreciate some insights into.”
That’s the type of opportunity the Fieldays offers many businesses.
“It is that alignment. People go there to network, to see what is new on the innovation front, make new friendships and build on the existing ones they have. That is why it is such an important event on the calendar.”
Charteris says he is looking forward to it because it is always a great opportunity for him to get out and “really get a sense of how the farming community is feeling and how we can continue to support that”.
Guide to Fieldays
- Gates open daily Wednesday to Friday 8am to 5pm and Saturday 8am to 4pm.
- Ticket prices are $30 adult general admission one day, $15 for children aged 5-14 years for one day. Child under five free.
- Parking at Fieldays is free and open from 5.30am – 10pm. To avoid queues arrive early. Due to high volume of traffic expect delays. Parking for the disabled available through gate 1 for permit holders.
- Food and beverages will be located in four large food hubs around the venue.
- To get to Fieldays, use your Fieldays ticket to catch the bus free from one of three locations: Hamilton, The Base, Te Rapa (park & ride); Hamilton Transport Centre; Cambridge, BMX Club, Milton Street (park & ride).