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Sluggish global milk supply growth and improving dairy prices expected in 2024

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Limited milk supply growth and lacklustre demand led to soft global dairy commodity pricing in 2023.

Sluggish global milk supply growth and improving dairy prices expected in 2024 

 

Rabobank

Limited milk supply growth and lacklustre demand led to soft global dairy commodity pricing in 2023. However, the global dairy market appears to be transitioning to the next phase in its cycle, with prices expected to move higher through 2024, according to a new report from Rabobank.

“Still, the market remains finely balanced, and uncertainty remains surrounding underlying demand for 2024,” the specialist agribusiness bank says in its just-released Global Dairy Quarterly Q4 2023 report.

As 2023 draws to a close, Rabobank says, the global dairy market continues to walk a tightrope of limited “new” milk and sluggish demand.

“The year saw soft global dairy commodity pricing due to weaker underlying fundamentals. Global milk supply growth was underwhelming, with three consecutive quarters of growth. Then lower milk prices, elevated costs, and weather disruption put the brakes back on,” the quarterly report said.

Rabobank’s global milk supply outlook for 2024 has weakened, with sluggish growth expected across most export regions.

“The milk supply export engine never fully fired on all cylinders in 2023 and declined year-on-year in the third quarter by 0.2 per cent,” says report lead author, Rabobank senior dairy analyst Michael Harvey.

“Year-over-year milk production from the ‘Big 7’ (the EU, US, New Zealand, Australia, Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay) exporting regions is forecast to decrease through Q1 2024 before turning positive. Overall, milk supply is forecast to grow by a modest 0.3 per cent for the entire year,” he said.

Rabobank senior dairy analyst Michael Harvey on the global dairy.

Rabobank senior dairy analyst Michael Harvey

A slow recovery in prices

Rabobank said in local currencies, farmgate milk prices across the export regions will close out 2023 anywhere between 20 per cent to 40 per cent lower versus the start of the year. However, with the 2024 feed cost outlook looking more favourable, some regional milk prices have recently increased, boosting farmgate margins, the bank said.

“We expect a slow recovery in dairy commodity prices back to long-term averages,” Mr Harvey said. “However, current fundamentals provide the perfect ingredients for price volatility and a possible market whiplash. Geopolitical instability risks, volatile energy markets, and weak macroeconomic conditions will be something to watch in 2024 for the global dairy markets.”

Demand uncertainty ahead

Mr Harvey said demand would be a key factor to watch in 2024, with high dairy inflation, broader cost-of-living issues, and weak consumer confidence remaining on the horizon.

“Peak food and dairy inflation have passed, but market uncertainty remains, and rising unemployment will further impact purchasing power in 2024. Emerging markets and low-income households are under the most pressure,” he said.

“In China,” Mr Harvey said, “consumer prices are falling, and foodservice recovery continues, but overall consumption growth is sluggish.

“China’s import appetite for dairy commodities is still expected to drive any Oceania commodity price rally in 2024.”

Rabobank expects China’s import volume to flatline in 2024, which would be a positive result, given the previous two years of withdrawal from the global markets. This is an opportunity for importers outside of China to build stocks in 2024, the bank said.

“Other factors to watch in 2024 include a mildly softer grain and oilseed price outlook, El Niño and weather-related risks, mixed livestock markets in export regions, and the impact of the Israel-Hamas war on global markets,” Mr Harvey said.

Limited milk supply growth and lacklustre demand led to soft global dairy commodity pricing in 2023.

Limited milk supply growth and lacklustre demand led to soft global dairy commodity pricing in 2023.

Australia

Mr Harvey said Australia’s milk supply had “modestly recovered” in the first quarter of the new season. “Milk production reached 2.036 billion litres in the July to September period, 0.5 per cent year-on-year higher. Growth has been elusive in Western Victoria and Northern Victoria,” he said.

Mr Harvey said El Niño’s impact was becoming evident in dry conditions. “For most of Australia’s key dairying regions, rainfall between August and October was below average, negatively impacting soil moisture. And the latest climate outlook leans toward below-average rainfall into Q1 2024,” he said.

However, the report notes, dairy farmers are overall “well-equipped to combat these seasonal conditions”. “Most dairy farmers have access to good carryover feed reserves, ample supply of supplementary feed, and irrigation water. Nonetheless, after three consecutive record winter crops, the current winter crop will decline materially” Mr Harvey said.

The bank says cost inflation on farm has peaked, with milk production costs moving to the next phase of the cycle. “Feed and fertiliser input costs are expected to track closer to long-term averages, which is good news for producers. However, interest rates are still increasing, and inflation is evident across most overhead costs,” it said.

Mr Harvey said Australian farmgate milk prices were set for the remainder of the season (ending June 30, 2024), remaining at or near record levels, buffering the sector from global markets.

“Australian dairy exports continue to plummet,” he said. “In the first three months of the new season, export volumes are down more than 13 per cent year-on-year with big falls in milk powder ingredients, bulk cheese, and butter. Export volumes of liquid milk, a growth sector in recent years, are off 30 per cent year-on-year.

“A tight domestic milk supply is part of the story. However, export price competitiveness remains an issue given the high price of farmgate milk versus major competitors. Australia’s butter and cheese imports are up 43 per cent and 21 per cent year-on-year, respectively.”

Mr Harvey said Australian households continue to adjust purchasing behaviours in response to an income squeeze.

“While dairy purchases are generally outperforming other discretionary food items, all signs point to some volume declines across the different channels. The dairy CPI (Consumer Price Index) for the September quarter shows it has peaked and is trending lower, but it is still elevated by historical comparison,” he said. “In 2024, economic conditions are expected to remain sluggish, with unemployment levels widely predicted to rise.”

Rabobank expects Australia’s exportable surplus to gradually stabilise over the course of 2023/24. “A further recovery in milk supply will be the catalyst. However, export competitiveness will remain an issue in the near term,” the quarterly report said.

 

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Gardening

The Enchanted World of Kids Cubby Houses

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Kids Cubby Houses

The Enchanted World of Kids Cubby Houses

 

Cubby houses, those quaint, imaginative structures nestled in backyards around the globe, are more than just play spaces for kids—they are sanctuaries of creativity, learning, and childhood memories. In this exploration of cubby houses, we delve into their charm, benefits for childhood development, design considerations, and tips for creating the ultimate backyard adventure.

Cubby Houses and Childhood Development

At first glance, a cubby house might appear as a simple wooden structure tucked into a garden corner. Yet, to children, it represents a boundless world of fantasy and freedom. These mini-homes are the stages for imaginative play, where kids can be pirates one day and bold explorers the next. This imaginative play is crucial for cognitive development, raising creativity, problem-solving skills, and independence.

Cubby houses also serve as a child’s first look into ownership, giving them a sense of responsibility and pride in their space. Decorating and caring for their cubby, children learn about organisation and personal responsibility in a fun, engaging way.

The Design Philosophy Behind Cubby Houses

When designing a cubby house, the goal is to balance safety, creativity, and environmental harmony. Modern cubby houses range from simplistic designs to elaborate mini-mansions, equipped with verandas, slides, and even climbing walls. However, the essence of a cubby house is not in its complexity but in its ability to inspire and adapt to a child’s imagination.

Eco-friendly materials and sustainability are becoming increasingly important in cubby house construction. Recycled wood, non-toxic paints, and solar-powered lights are just a few options for parents looking to minimise environmental impact. Moreover, incorporating natural elements like sandpits, water play areas, and gardens can further connect children with nature, enhancing their learning and sensory development.

Incorporating Education into Play

The educational potential of cubby houses is vast. By integrating elements like chalkboards, weather stations, or even simple tools for gardening, children can learn valuable lessons about the world around them. These features encourage exploration and curiosity, key drivers of lifelong learning.

Cubby houses are also excellent tools for social development. They can be hubs for social interaction where kids learn to negotiate, share, and work together. Whether it’s deciding on the day’s play theme or resolving a dispute about who gets to be the captain of the ship, these experiences are invaluable in developing empathy and social skills.

Creating Your Child’s Dream Cubby House

Building a cubby house can be a wonderful project for the whole family.

Here are some tips to get you started:

  • Safety First: Ensure the structure is stable and materials are safe. Smooth out any sharp edges, and if the house is elevated, secure railings and a sturdy ladder.
  • Let Creativity Lead: Involve your child in the design process. Their imaginative ideas can lead to unique features that make the cubby house truly theirs.
  • Consider the Location: Place the cubby house in a spot that’s easily visible from the house but also immersed in the garden. Proximity to trees, flowers, and shrubs can enhance the sense of adventure.
  • Think Long-Term: Children grow quickly, so consider a design that can evolve with them. Modular cubby houses that allow for expansions or modifications can extend the life of the playhouse.

The Community Aspect of Cubby Houses

Cubby houses have the power to bring communities together. Neighbourhood cubby house competitions or shared community garden cubbies can foster a sense of togetherness and shared pride. These initiatives not only create communal spaces for play but also teach children the value of community and collective care for shared spaces.

The Cubby Houses Await!

Cubby houses represent a world of wonder for kids, offering endless possibilities for play, learning, and growth. They are microcosms of creativity, where the simplest structures can become castles, spaceships, or secret headquarters in the eyes of a child.

Beyond their immediate joy and entertainment value, cubby houses play a crucial role in childhood development, encouraging independence, social skills, and a connection with nature.

As we design and build these special spaces, we’re reminded of the importance of play in a child’s life—not just for fun, but as a fundamental part of learning about the world and themselves.

In the end, the greatest gift we can give our children is the space and freedom to explore, imagine, and dream. And perhaps, in the process of creating these magical garden retreats, we rediscover a bit of our own childhood wonder along the way.

 

For more gardening news, click here.

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Casino Beef Week

Embrace Country Life at Casino Beef Week’s MJ Smith Group Breakfast with the Butchers

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NSW-Northern-Rivers-Breaking-News

Embrace Country Life at Casino Beef Week’s MJ Smith Group Breakfast with the Butchers

Casino, 8/4/2024 – Casino Beef Week is excited to announce an extraordinary day of community spirit and celebration at the MJ Smith Group Breakfast with the Butchers Presented by ZZZFM. This year’s event is set to surpass all expectations, encapsulating the essence of country life in a morning filled with fun, food, and festivity.

Thanks to the generous support of The MJ Smith Group, our 2024 Major Sponsor, the annual Free Community Breakfast will offer attendees a delightful taste of the local life with complimentary sausage or steak sandwiches, chocolate milk, and fresh fruit, generously donated by Woolworths Casino. This partnership exemplifies The MJ Smith Group’s deep commitment to the local community, showcasing a shared passion for uniting and enriching our region.

Brody Lisha, President of Casino Beef Week, expressed his enthusiasm about the event: “We are overjoyed to have The MJ Smith Group as our Major Sponsor this year. Their dedication to the community mirrors our mission to celebrate our country life and bring people together. This event is more than just a breakfast; it’s a showcase of what makes our community so vibrant and unique.”

Casino NSW_Breakfast_with_the_Butchers

Casino Beef Week is excited to announce an extraordinary day of community spirit and celebration at the MJ Smith Group Breakfast with the Butchers Presented by ZZZFM.

The event will feature an impressive display of machinery, allowing attendees to witness the remarkable work of The MJ Smith Group firsthand. “Seeing the machinery up close is a testament to the innovation and hard work that drives our local industries. It’s an honour to highlight this aspect of our community at the event,” said Lisha.

Adding to the excitement, the annual Richmond Dairies Cow Pat Lotto, presented by Bently Community Preschool, returns with a larger prize pool thanks to Richmond Dairies and Macdonalds Pharmacy. “The Cow Pat Lotto is a tradition that everyone looks forward to. It’s a fun, quirky way to engage with the community while supporting a great cause,” Lisha remarked.

Butchers from the region will compete in the Verto Sausage Competition, aiming for the titles of Best Beef Sausage and Best Gourmet Sausage. Lisha commented, “Our local butchers are incredibly talented, and this competition is a fantastic way to showcase their skills and the quality of our local produce.”

The day will also feature live entertainment from Sam Handford and the grand finale of the CiCom Busking Championships on the Jack Links Stage. “The talent we have in our community is astounding, and the Jack Links Stage is the perfect platform to showcase it. It’s going to be an unforgettable day,” Lisha added.

Casino Beef Week invites everyone to join in celebrating our country life, embodying the community spirit that makes our region so special. Don’t miss this outstanding day of free food, fantastic entertainment, and family-friendly fun.

The Breakfast will be lived streamed via ZZZFM and 2LM.

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Entertainment

Earth Frequency Festival 2024

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Earth Frequency Festival 2024

Earth Frequency Festival 2024

 

Earth Frequency Festival is a music, arts, lifestyle and environmental festival based in South-East Queensland, Australia, with a strong focus on arts, education, healing and community spirit.

While drawing from many cultural niches such as transformational festival, tribal gathering, doof and boutique festival, the aim of Earth Frequency Festival is to go beyond these traditional tags and to exist as a multi-faceted gathering focused broadly on creativity, connection, intention and inspiration.

From it’s origins as a small landcare party in 2005, Earth Frequency has now become one of Australia’s foremost transformational gatherings.

At Earth Frequency, you can always expect an amazing mixture of live and electronic music, performance, visionary art, workshops and lectures, a family and kids space, a fantastic food and markets area, and of course a positive community vibe.

Our aim is to create nothing short of a life changing, transformative experience! We aim to provide a meeting place – people from many different backgrounds, ages and walks of life come together with the shared interests of music, nature, technology, culture and peace.

Earth Frequency Festival is held each year at Ivory’s Rock Conventions and Events in Peak Crossing. Ivory’s Rock is a beautiful outdoor venue with top notch facilities, comfortable campgrounds, and it is conveniently located under an hour from Brisbane and just 20 minutes from Ipswich.

Nurtured by the setting of the beautiful Australian outdoors, we gather together once a year to celebrate life with music, art and other creative forms, and to educate, connect, heal and inspire.

EVENT DETAILS:

  • When: May 3-6
  • Where: Ivory’s Rock Conventions and Events, Peak Crossing.
  • Price: From $280
  • Tickets: www.earthfrequency.com.au

 

For more entertainment news, click here.

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