23 Apr 2013

Synlait Milk says it's avoided effects of drought so far

6:33 am on 23 April 2013

Canterbury dairy company, Synlait Milk, has been able to avoid the effects of the dry conditions which have trimmed supply for other processors this season.

Drought in the North Island and on the West Coast of the South Island is expected to reduce national milk production for the first time in six years.

Farmers in drought areas have been forced to cut back to once a day milking and dry off their herds much earlier than usual.

But Synlait said its 150 suppliers in mid Canterbury have been largely immune to that and its supply has not suffered, so far.

Chief executive John Penno said Synlait has been very fortunate because it's irrigated, as are most of the farmers which supply it, so droughts do not affect them too much.

But Dr Penno said there may yet be some effect because feed costs in Canterbury will be higher this winter, so farmers may be mindful of that as they decide on drying off dates.

He said Synlait's processing plant at Dunsandel has also been running at capacity, manufacturing infant formula and other products.