Silver Fern Farms stoic over loss

Updated at 6:38 am on 14 November 2012

Silver Fern Farms is putting a positive face on its big loss for the past year.

The has reported a net after-tax operating loss of more than $31 million reversing a profit of $30 million the previous year.

Despite the poor result, Chairman Eoin Garden says the company's financial position remains strong and it will continue its 'plate to pasture' strategy and significant investment in the Farm IQ programme and in branding and marketing.

A loss of $50 million loss was posted last week by the other big meat co-operative, Alliance.

Chief executive Keith Cooper says difficult conditions last season hit the whole indsutry.

Lamb supply shortages earlier in the season forced up prices. Companies were then caught out when demand in key export markets crashed after Christmas.

Mr Cooper said the current season is looking a lot more stable, but the number of companies competing for fewer stock remains an issue which the meat industry needs to confront.

Next story in Rural: Growers told: assume canker has spread