No sur­prises in re­port

Shepparton News - Country News - - NEWS - By Rod­ney Woods

Katunga dairy farmer Daryl Hoey said there were no sur­prises in Dairy Aus­tralia’s re­cently re­leased Dairy Sit­u­a­tion and Outlook re­port.

The Oc­to­ber re­port fore­cast milk pro­duc­tion to fall eight bil­lion litres or five to seven per cent on last year’s pro­duc­tion fig­ures.

While it was still only a pre­dic­tion, Mr Hoey said this drop could be pos­si­ble.

‘‘It’s a pro­jec­tion at this stage,’’ he said.

‘‘With the num­bers of cows farm­ers have re­duced their herds by it is not out of the equa­tion.

‘‘It will de­pend on when we get an au­tumn break and how we re­spond later in the sea­son.’’

In re­sponse to Dairy Aus­tralia’s se­nior in­dus­try an­a­lyst John Drop­pert’s com­ments on the im­por­tance of plan­ning for when con­di­tions im­prove, Mr Hoey said how quickly milk pro­duc­tion for farm­ers turned around would de­pend on how many of their young stock they could re­tain dur­ing the cur­rent con­di­tions.

‘‘Peo­ple are now mak­ing de­ci­sions on how many cows they re­duce their herd by this year and then their young stock,’’ he said.

‘‘If farm­ers can re­tain as many of their young stock (as they can), the quicker the re­sponse will be.’’

The high prices of water ($321/Ml) and feed prices above $400/tonne (shred­ded cereal hay at $402/tonne and stock­feed wheat at $425/tonne) were putting fur­ther pres­sure on farm­ers dur­ing the cur­rent dry con­di­tions.

‘‘I think peo­ple are mak­ing judg­ment calls on whether they can make sum­mer crops with water prices the way they are,’’ Mr Hoey said.

‘‘The long, hot, dry sum­mer (that is fore­cast) is cer­tainly go­ing to put pres­sure on farm­ers.

‘‘Peo­ple are go­ing to have to make sure they have good enough qual­ity hay and silage or buy water to in­vest in sum­mer crops.’’

De­spite the dry con­di­tions and es­ca­lat­ing water and feed prices, Mr Drop­pert said there was some pos­i­tive news, with do­mes­tic sales mar­kets strong, see­ing an in­crease of 0.9 per cent in Aus­tralian milk, cheese and yo­ghurt sales.

More on page 7.

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