Thursday, 2 April 2020

Solid demand for fert essentials


A massive thanks to all our supportive customers and the fantastic team that has worked hard to take care of them. Demand has been strong as we remain open for business.

Since lockdown and stopping all but essential movements and visits, the Customer Centre and agri managers have been trying to stay in touch and answering questions about how farmers can get hold of their essential inputs.

We’ve organised a web page where the latest updates are stored and will be sending a weekly e-newsletter to let shareholders know what’s going on in their co-operative as we all unite to kick COVID-19 into touch.

With only two months left in our financial year and April looking an important month to stimulate pasture growth, the demand for fertiliser looks solid. And due to a lot of work by a lot of people, our supply is looking good as well.  Our year to date sales of agchem, seed and animal health products also give us confidence and contactless on-farm delivery is proving a popular option.

We’ve also noticed a hike in our online orders in the first week of lockdown. The HawkEye map-based decision-making software is proving popular. On average, our Customer Centre team has taken 50-60% more calls than this time last year - all whilst working out of their homes. With agri managers ready to assist, there are several options to discuss your needs and take your orders.

March ended with a flurry of fertiliser pick-ups as farmers who had been struggling with drought-conditions finally saw a break in the weather. We are seeing a lot of interest in nitrogen products – especially N-Protect – as a way to grow dry matter at a crucial time.

When the sales yards close, meat works reduce capacity and supplementary feed can be disrupted, the pasture-driven approach that has been a hallmark strength of New Zealand for so long really comes into its own.

But of course that strength depends on the infrastructure, alliances and talent across a fertiliser industry to deliver what’s needed when it’s needed. This has always been important to Ravensdown’s shareholder-owners and that resilience is now proving its value to everyone who cares about growing food for humans or livestock.