The average price per hectare for New Zealand dairy farms has fallen by 8.4 per cent over the past 12 months.
However, according to an article in the NZ Herald, it is considered too soon to attribute the price reduction to the recent spread of Mycoplasma bovis.
The Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (REINZ) figures show for the three months ended June 2018, the average sale price per hectare for dairy farms was $31,881 (£16,591) for 57 properties, compared to $35,901 (£18,683) for the three months ended May 2018 (74 properties) and $34,789 (59 properties) for the three months ended June 2017.
On an index basis, the fall was 3.4 per cent in the three months to June 2018 compared to the three months to May.
The REINZ dairy farm price index adjusts for differences in farm size and location and by comparison with June 2017, it fell by 11.5 per cent.
REINZ rural spokesman Brian Peacocke said lower volumes were the norm during the early winter period of June, but that sales figures for the most recent three-month period indicated an ’encouraging degree of resilience’, particularly for the drystock sector.
There had been strong performances in the finishing and grazing categories, underpinned by steadiness in the horticulture industry.
"Rural New Zealand has embarked upon the winter in good shape, with solid confidence after a very good autumn, forecasts of a good dairy payout and ongoing optimism for export returns from beef, lamb and horticulture," said Mr Peacocke.
However, the ’pervading presence’ of Mycoplasma bovis remained the dominant biosecurity issue, with outbreaks continuing to have a devastating impact on farming and rural businesses.
"Early spring of 2019, when dairy and beef animals are likely to be under maximum stress, is anticipated to be the real test for the government and the industry-backed eradication programme, a period nervously awaited by the farming sector and the wide variety of rural industries providing back-up to the primary industries," he said.
"We are getting fluctuations the whole time, so I guess when you have less volume the price drops are going to be more pronounced, but if it [price weakness] flowed through into the spring and there were more properties being offered, then you would start to ask the reason why."
LATEST figures show four new South Island farms were confirmed as infected with Mycoplasma bovis towards the end of June.
That brought the total number of farms to 42 across the country, the infection having first been detected 12 months ago.
In May, the Government announced a target 10-year period to finally eradicate the disease, becoming the first country in the world to attempt such a programme. It will cull 10s of thousands of cows.