Low milk price hits industry

NORTHERN Victorian dairy farmers have supported their southern counterparts, who held a crisis meeting on Monday night focusing on industry issues including the supermarket price war and a lack of leadership.

About 600 dairy farmers and Victoria’s member for the south-west coast Denis Napthine attended the meeting at Noorat, in the state’s south-west, where guest speakers outlined problems in the industry.

Disgruntled dairy farmers also parked tractors outside a Coles supermarket in Warrnambool on Wednesday to protest the retailer’s $1 per litre milk price.

United Dairy Farmers Victoria local president Peter Sexton said farmers further north were not feeling the pinch as much as those in the south-west of the state due to more favourable weather conditions. “Down there they had a tough winter and autumn and couldn’t grow feed,” the Dingee farmer said.

But he said rising costs and a low milk price were making things difficult.

“The milk price is nowhere near where it has to be,” he said.

“The government keep saying they want to grow milk production around the state, but if there’s no incentive to produce more then it won’t happen.”

Mr Sexton sells his milk to Murray Goulburn, which has forecast a farm gate price of 37 cents per litre for the next year.

“It has to be about 45 cents a litre to make any money or be able to put money back into business,” he said.

Mr Sexton said there was talk of a similar meeting of dairy farmers and industry leaders in the north of the state to be held in the near future.

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