Fonterra's credit rating could be lowered by the end of the year, and it might cost the dairy giant more to borrow money from banks.
Standard and Poor's has put the cooperative on a negative credit watch, citing the weakening global dairy market.
Fonterra bosses won't be happy with the news, according to agribusiness analyst Keith Woodford.
"There's a whole lot of negativity out there at the moment in relation to Fonterra, and that's what Standard and Poor's are picking up on – not saying that Fonterra is actually at risk."
Last year, the rating agency lowered Fonterra's long term credit rating from A+ to A.
Fonterra's credit rating could be lowered by the end of the year, but Mr Woodford doesn't think it'll have direct implications for farmers, who are already struggling with low payouts, driven by falling international demand – particularly from China.