Cattle for Capital
New Zealand dairy farmers are benefiting from a worldwide demand for milk and cheese with Fonterra Cooperative Group members promised big payouts for their efforts this year. Never before has the term “cash cow” been more appropriate. Senior economist for Westpac Institutional Bank Doug Steel said demand is being driven by the urbanisation and economic growth of emerging markets, with a significant contribution from freshly enriched oil-producing nations. Steel said this is particularly true in the South Island. “Those farmers have had by far their best year, probably in history and certainly in recent living memory” One hundred farms a year are converting from lamb and beef to dairy in Southland alone. But more cows equals more methane, so scientists in New Zealand and Australia are developing a strain of “burpless” grass for cows that would maintain dairy herds’ productivity and profitability while reducing their wind problems.