Fonterra's export volumes hit a record high of 300,000 tonnes in December - exceeding the previous record by 10 per cent.
The co-op's managing director for global ingredients, Kelvin Wickham, said the new record reflected a successful performance of Fonterra's direct-to-customer ingredients, consumer and food service sales and was achieved despite unprecedented global volatility. "The dairy market has been a tough environment globally, so we are pleased to achieve record export volumes despite the challenges," Wickham said.
The new benchmark would be difficult to surpass as reduced milk volumes began to affect Fonterra's production levels, he said.
Fonterra has forecast a year-on-year reduction of milk volumes by at least 6 per cent this season as farmers respond to low milk prices and dry conditions in parts of New Zealand.
Since last August, Fonterra has reduced the amount of whole milk powder it expects to offer on the GlobalDairyTrade auction platform over the next 12 months by 146,000 tonnes in response to a change in product mix away from base milk powders and continued successful contracting and demand through other sales channels.
An increased portion of product is being sold through bilateral customer agreements for a premium on prices achieved on the auction platform.
Wickham said Fonterra's ingredients inventory levels for the first quarter were in line with the same period last year.