[2 August/ NZ Herald]

Westland Milk Products expects to pay a higher farmgate price in the 2018 season following ten months of analysis and systems change under new management. The company has cut staff numbers to decrease costs as part of a broader restructuring to process milk and run operations more efficiently after a high-cost structure impacted the 2016 farmgate payout. It is forecasting a net payout range, after retentions, of $6.40 – $6.80 per kilogram of milk solids for the current season. Farmer shareholders received an average payout of $3.88/kgMS in 2016. In February, the company forecasted a $5.30-to-$5.70/kgMS payout for 2017. Westland Chief Executive Toni Brendish said the company saved almost $70 million in the past ten months.