What is the dairy forecaster?
Overview of how the dairy forecaster works in Farm Focus
Support Team avatar
Written by Support Team
Updated over a week ago

The dairy forecaster is a handy planning tool that helps you predict milk production (kg/MS) and related income for the year.

It presents all the months in a production season in an annual view, to make entering and maintaining milk production data in your plan quick and easy.

The dairy forecaster only needs to be set-up once, normally when you’re setting up your farm business in Farm Focus. However, if your business model changes, i.e. if you change from sharemilking to being an owner/operator, or your share percent changes, you might need to change some of the settings.

If you supply to Fonterra or Synlait, the dairy forecaster automatically updates your projected milk income as prices change, so that you can quickly see the effect any price changes have on your business.

Viewing your Dairy Forecaster

The view in the dairy forecaster aligns to your dairy company’s production year, June to May, and will be Tax Exclusive. If your financial year doesn’t match to this i.e. it runs from July to June, the dairy forecaster and the cashflow screens won’t be 100% aligned.

For many dairy companies the supply month will be independent of invoice date. In Farm Focus your production data will align with your working plan when using Dairy Forecaster. It is standard accounting practice for the invoice date to reflect when the work/milk supply occurred. IRD has granted Fonterra an exemption and Fonterra invoice date (Issue date) is for the month of payment and not supply. When coding Fonterra invoices, use invoice date and Farm Focus will automatically align date of supply in the Dairy Forecaster (For example if Issue date is 7th Sept and payment date 15th Sept, Farm Focus will infer August supply in the Dairy Forecaster).

If you have multiple payments within a month you will see the list of all payments. This might be the case where you have more than one farm and are receiving multiple payments. You can use Management Tags to report on these separately.

The Actuals section will be greyed out. You can click on the three menu dots at the right-hand side of the item line to view the actual invoice/transaction with your coding information.

Once your Actuals are input, the Headers for the Increase Adv, Capacity adjustment, Base payment columns will be overwritten with the description you coded on the milk income invoice/transaction. The previous data in these columns become irrelevant once Actual data is entered for the month.

If you have income planned for a month and have not yet received the milk income, or you haven't yet coded the transaction, you will have a red alert to notify you to enter your actual data for that particular month.

You can also edit the Management tag directly in the Dairy forecaster if you wish to change the tag for your milk income.

For Fonterra farmers:

Please note that from 2022/23 season onwards, the capacity adjustment calculation will no longer be included in your Dairy Forecaster due to changes in the payout schedule.

Tips and Tricks

The dairy forecaster calculates milk payout for the current season. It does not include retro payments. You will need to calculate your retro payment yourself and include these in the plan. It's a simple calculation - say you produced 150,000kgMS in the season and in June you were paid $7.20/KgMS and in July you have a retro payment of $7.65/KgMS . Your retro payment in July will be: $0.45 /kgMS x 150,000kg = $67,500 (NB: $7.65 - $7.20 = $0.45)

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