Farmer investment in technology boosts revenue for dairy herd genetics co-op

New Zealand farmers' growing investment in 'precision farming' technology has boosted revenue for dairy herd genetics co-operative, Livestock Improvement Corporation (LIC).

LIC has announced its half-year financial results for the six months to November 30, 2019.

At $163 million, total revenue was up 1.4 percent on the same period last year.

However, net profit after tax (NPAT) was $30.3 million, down 7.6 percent on the same period last year, due to the timing of expenses.

"Half-year results incorporate the majority of revenues from the farmer-owned co-operative's core artificial breeding (AB) and herd testing services, but not a similar proportion of total costs so are not indicative of the second half, nor the full year, result," LIC said in a statement.

Revenue from international and technology products was also spread through the year. 

LIC Board Chair Murray King said the increased revenue was driven by a continued shift towards 'precision farming' with farmers investing more in genetics and technology solutions.

Technology solutions included satellite pasture management service SPACE, and LIC's web-based MINDA LIVE system and MINDA app for animal recording and insights.

Frozen LIC bull semen straws in liquid nitrogen, to be used for artificial insemination.
Frozen LIC bull semen straws in liquid nitrogen, to be used for artificial insemination. Photo credit: Supplied

"New Zealand dairy farmers are becoming world leaders in precision farming - they are using cost-effective, innovative solutions to get more value on-farm and ultimately do more with less. 

"This was also evident in the 2018-19 Dairy Statistics with farmers achieving record milk production while cow numbers continue to decline," said King.

"This is good for our dairy industry's profitability, competitiveness and reputation in global markets. It shows our farmers are evolving with the times, and demonstrating careful stewardship of their land, their cows and the resources they need to produce milk."

Underlying earnings at year-end remained forecast to be in the range of $21-25 million, assuming no significant climate event or milk price drop takes place between now and then nor any major impacts from M bovis, LIC said.

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