Fonterra says its New Zealand milk exports in February fell 6.1 per cent and it will ramp up ethanol production to help sanitiser manufacturers cope with a surge in demand caused by the coronavirus outbreak.
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Dairy giant Fonterra says its New Zealand milk exports in February fell 6.1 per cent. Credit: REUTERS

The Auckland-based company said on Wednesday it would make an additional 220,000 litres of high-grade ethanol, on top of the 375,000 litres it has already provided in recent weeks to help with the supply of sanitiser.

In February, the dairy giant saw a decline in demand for butter from Iran and fluid milk products from China, which cut into exports from New Zealand.

Domestic milk production was flat for the same period due to adverse weather conditions, while Australian production steadied in January as rainfall returned after months of dry conditions, the company said.

Accounting for the production on leap day, the world’s largest dairy exporter said its New Zealand milk collection in February was 133.5 million kilograms of milk solids, up 0.3 per cent on same period last year.

Dairy import volumes for China, Fonterra’ biggest market, decreased 2.1 per cent in the first two months as measures imposed to stem the coronavirus spread affected shipments.

The moods of many dairy producers have been boosted by the first quarter performance of their dairy. With significantly higher milk check prices year-over-year, most dairies are making profitable margins according to Trent Dado, independent dairy nutrition and management consultant with GPS Consulting.

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