The sharp drop in global dairy prices has cut into Landcorp’s profits, which are down almost 85 per cent.
The state-owned farmer has posted a net operating profit of $NZ4.9 million ($A4.44 million) for the year ended June 30, down from the $30m result the previous year.
The tumbling price of milk solids, along with lower lamb prices, has resulted in a 12 per cent drop in income from farm products, to $NZ213.5 million.
Global dairy prices have slumped over the past year amid higher supplies and weak demand, and lamb prices are also weak following a record Australian slaughter and after a mild winter boosted UK production.
Decline in milk revenue to $NZ88.1 million was partly offset by 13 per cent growth in livestock revenue to $NZ111.3 million driven by increased livestock production and higher beef and wool prices.
Landcorp chief executive Steven Carden says it’s been a tough time for the entire dairy sector and the results are “solid” in that context.
“Things might have proved even more challenging had we not secured a significant volume of supply to Fonterra under their guaranteed milk price scheme at prices that were above the final payout level,” Mr Carden said.
Questions have been raised in recent weeks about Landcorp’s debt levels, with Finance Minister Bill English suggesting land could be sold off to reduce debt.
Mr Carden says Landcorp is “very comfortable” with its level of debt.
Total liabilities stood at almost $NZ362 million, including bank borrowings, which increased to $NZ210.7 million from $NZ172.4 million in 2013/14.
Debt has increased moderately over the past few years to fund dairy conversions in the central North Island and complete conversions in Canterbury, Mr Carden said.
“We’ve kept costs flat while continuing to work on initiatives across the five core areas of our strategy,” he said.
“Tight cost controls, precision application of fertiliser and aligning our farming systems to a lower milk price have all yielded savings. A flat cost structure is a pleasing result, given we had an additional five farms come into production during this period.”