Dairy farm­ers take a hit

Central and North Burnett Times - - LOCAL NEWS - ❏ Ge­orge Smith

MONTO dairy farm­ers are fac­ing the chal­lenge of lower prices and pro­longed hot, dry weather.

Prior to the new deal be­tween Port Cur­tis Dairy and Par­malat, dairy farm­ers in the district were re­ceiv­ing 58 cents per litre.

But they have been dealt a blow, with a re­duc­tion of four to five cents per litre in price for their prod­uct.

It rep­re­sents about a $4000 per month drop in earn­ings for a farmer who pro­duces an av­er­age of one mil­lion litres per year.

And drought-like con­di­tions have also re­duced feed lev­els in the pad­dock.

Monto dairy farmer Peter Brown said he could see many of his fel­low dairy farm­ers mov­ing out of the in­dus­try be­cause of the re­duced price.

But he did not want to talk down the in­dus­try.

“Los­ing four to five cents a litre is your profit gone,” Mr Brown said. “And this is sig­nif­i­cant, as dairy­ing is a cost-in­ten­sive in­dus­try.

“I can un­der­stand con­sumers look­ing for the cheap­est deals, but the $1-a-litre milk deal is just a mar­ket­ing strat­egy to get peo­ple through su­per­mar­ket doors.

“It does noth­ing to main­tain a vi­able dairy in­dus­try.

“But I don’t want to see the banks scared off lend­ing to those still in the in­dus­try.”

Aus­tralia Day 2011was a turn- ing point for the in­dus­try, when the su­per­mar­ket milk war be­gan with $1 per litre generic brand milk.

Queens­land Dairy­farm­ers’ Or­gan­i­sa­tion com­mu­ni­ca­tions of­fi­cer Brad Pf­ef­fer said it left farm­ers with lit­tle re­turn for their prod­uct, and had forced many out of the in­dus­try.

“The last time milk was a dol­lar a litre was back in 1992.”

Par­malat was con­tacted for this story but could not be reached.

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