September 29, 2019 / 9:41 PM / 14 days ago

UPDATE 1-Fonterra's August milk output in New Zealand inches up

(Adds details on results, background)

Sept 30 (Reuters) - Fonterra said on Monday that milk production in August in New Zealand rose marginally, amid slightly higher rainfall and better pasture cover.

New Zealand milk production rose 0.8% in August from a year ago, while collection grew 1.1%, the dairy company said in a statement.

Milk production in Australia dropped 8.4% in July compared with the same period last year, while the company’s milk collection from the region plunged 25.5% in August.

High farm input costs, challenging seasonal conditions and increased competition in Australia have hurt its milk supply, the cooperative said.

On the upside, the company’s dairy exports to China grew 14% in July, Fonterra said, driven by increased demand for products such as skim milk, cream, condensed milk and yoghurt.

Last week, in a highly anticipated turnaround plan, the dairy company called a halt to its ambitious and ill-fated overseas expansion and pledged to turn its focus back home, after posting a record annual loss.

The company has been buffeted by strong criticism from the 10,000-plus farmers who make up its cooperative as its foray into countries like China and value-added consumer products hurt its profits in recent times.

Reporting by Rashmi Ashok in Bengaluru; Editing by Daniel Wallis and Peter Cooney

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