WA processors must improve
WAFARMERS DAIRY Council President Michael Partridge has called on processors to recognise the level of investment dairy farmers have in the industry, and to improve their communication. Mr Partridge was speaking at the 2017 WAFarmers Dairy Conference last month. “There should always be an expectation that farmers have a home for their milk, and better communication is needed between processors and farmers to ensure this happens, along with fair and equitable contracts,” Mr Partridge said. “Farmers have as much invested in the dairy industry as processors do, however not all processors recognise this, and this needs to be reflected in the way we do business with each other.” Mr Partridge also said flattening the supply curve can come at a significant cost to the farmers, and needs to be reflected in price. He said a presentation from Dairy Australia’s Neil Lane showed that Western Australian dairy farmers are as efficient and comparable to anywhere else in the world. “It’s important to recognise our farmers’ capabilities,” Mr Partridge said. His comments follow revelations from the ABC last month that new contracts issued by Brownes Dairy, would see some farmers fined for under-supplying milk. The clause would see a fine imposed of five cents for every litre not provided to Brownes, if the farmer meets less than 90 per cent of their monthly quota, according to the ABC. Brownes did not renew contracts with four farmers last year, forcing former dairy farmer Dale Hanks out of the industry. Brownes has since said the clause to fine farmers for under-supplying would not be included in new contracts.
Dairy Council President, Michael Partridge, with WA assistant agriculture minister, Darren West.
Delegates at the WAFarmers Dairy Conference.