Chairman John Monaghan says Fonterra has a clear plan to take stock "of where we are as a co-op," in an attempt to regain trust from its farmers after announcing a "disappointing" annual result.

The dairy giant reported a net loss of $196 million for the July year - its first annual loss since its inception in 2001.

Despite the news, new chairman Monaghan tried to put a positive spin on the situation when he spoke to The Country's Jamie Mackay, focusing on the $6.69 farmgate milk price for the 2017/18 season.

"Looking at the overall result, there's still a strong total cash payout of $6.79 which is the third highest in a decade and that's good for our farmers."


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Mackay asked Monaghan if Fonterra was guilty of being "a bit optimistic" with its 2018/19 farmgate milk price forecasting at $6.75.

"We want to be a lot more accurate with our forecasting. We want to deliver on the milk price and the forecast earnings," said Monaghan, who reported that Fonterra looked to supply and demand around the world and watched the NZ/US cross rate closely to help with accuracy.

"Be assured that we will have real focus on getting our forecasting right and also getting our earnings projection correctly and to do that we really need to make sure we sell the right volumes and control our costs."

Although Monaghan was trying to accentuate the positive he admitted the current situation would be a disappointment to Fonterra farmers.

"We have lost a lot of trust from our farmer shareholders in the investment and also unit holders. We need to work hard to get that back and we'll be doing everything in our control to do that."

Also in today's interview: John Monaghan defends Fonterra against Cabinet Minister Shane Jones' comment that the co-op's "top earners don't deserve the minimum wage."