Dairy industry in crisis
Farmers fear the worst
NORTH Burnett dairy farmers have said the milk crisis is continuing to get worse in Queensland.
Biggenden dairy farmer Robbie Radel said it was beyond frustrating that milk processors wanted to pay producers less.
“The industry could be fixed with the flick of a pen, like it was destroyed with a flick of a pen,” Mr Radel said.
“The powers that be, the big companies, not just Coles andWoolworths, but the milk processors need to take responsibility.
“They have to own up and say they aren’t going to supply the milk that cheap any more.”
Mr Radel said suppliers should raise the amount they sell milk for to supermarket chains.
“If Coles andWooolies want to sell milk at $1/litre that’s up to them and they can lose revenue,” he said.
“But to sell it at $1/litre and make money off it and then the supplier makes money and the farmers don’t, it’s not funny.
“If they made it $1.10/litre and 10c goes to farmers, you could live with it, it makes a huge difference to us.
“They wouldn’t be paying it, the consumer would be.
“I don’t know anyone who couldn’t afford 10c/litre extra.”
Mr Radel said while national media attention around the milk crisis has helped Victorian dairy farmers, it had little impact on Queensland farmers.
“The industry is absolutely in dire straits now as when it began down in Victoria,” he said.
“Milk companies down there have relented a little, risen their opening price for the season, up here they are still talking about dropping our price.”
He said he had heard one company was thinking about dropping prices for farmers by as much as 2c/litre.
“I would think if they dropped it by 2c/litre, 25% of the industry will leave immediately and another 25% would be gone in the next 12 months,” he said.
“The industry in Queensland could halve if they drop the price by any amount.
“People aren’t able to pay bills now; it will just eat into their already reduced dividends.”
Mr Radel said he did not know what he would do if prices dropped.
“I’m on the local council now, that’s an avenue I can pursue, but it’s not a full time job and not enough to support the mortgage.
“If we were forced out we’d have to sell the farm and the cows and start fresh with something different.”
I don’t know anyone who couldn’t afford 10c/litre extra. — Robbie Radel
FRUSTRATED FARMER: Robbie Radel is sick and tired of the dairy crisis that has now been going on for several months.