Global dairy giant Fonterra has confirmed its payout for the just-ended season.

The dairy exporter said today (23 September) that farmers would be paid a total of NZ$5.20 (US$3.76) a kilogram of milksolids, which reflected lower global commodity dairy prices and demand due to the global downturn.

On Tuesday, the co-operative raised its forecast for the 2009/10 season by 12% to NZ$5.10/kg from an initial NZ$4.55 forecast.

Fonterra posted a "strong" rise in distributable profit for the 2008/09 fiscal year, the company said, which has meant a higher value return payment to farmers.

Distributable profit was NZ$603m, compared to NZ$364m in the previous year.

Chairman Sir Henry van der Heyden said the business challenges and market volatility faced by Fonterra during 2008/09 were probably "unique in the lifetimes of anyone involved in dairying today".

"Commodity prices dropped from record highs, the exchange rate experienced roller coaster-like movements - much of the world plunged into a deep recession - and the global financial meltdown rewrote the rules about how companies obtained finance. On top of this, the market turmoil occurred as many farmers were emerging from the worst drought in more than a century during the previous 2007/08 season."

CEO Andrew Ferrier added that the improved profit reflected continued solid contributions from the consumer businesses as well as stronger profits from Fonterra's commodity and value added ingredients activities.