Record work for dairy shed builders

NEW ZEALAND - Companies building dairy sheds are struggling to meet demand as record payouts see farmers scrambling to convert to dairy.
calendar icon 27 December 2007
clock icon 1 minute read
DAIRY BOOM: farm manager Nick Palmer with Dunsandel couple Helwi Tacoma and Akky van der Velde above their dairy shed under construction. The couple was able to book contractors before the existing surge. They converted two adjoining farms, a run-off block and small deer farm they bought in June to a 165ha dairy farm.

Engineering companies and builders say they have never been so busy, and are forced to turn farmers away.

Industry sources predict 150 conversions in the South Island this year, following Fonterra forecasting a payout of $6.90 a kilogram of milk solids, 54 per cent higher than last season's $4.46 a kg.

Nationwide, farmers will bank $8.4 billion from Fonterra this season, an increase of $3b on last year.

Temuka-based Anderson and Rooney Engineering general manager Grant Mehrtens said every time Fonterra forecast another record payout the phone started to ring. "On Thursday and Friday we had eight more calls for new sheds."

The company built 15 sheds last year and would build 24 next year. It has 70 sheds to build around Mid and South Canterbury between now and 2010, and was booked solid until August 2009.

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