SOUR MILK PRICE: A dairy cow at Graham Duncan’s farm.
SOUR MILK PRICE: A dairy cow at Graham Duncan’s farm. Ali Kuchel

Dairy farmers unite over sour milk price

QUEENSLAND dairy farmers have rallied together at Parliament House, calling for an end to the $1 litre milk price war.

Attending the rally was Glenore Grove dairy farmer Graham Duncan.

The third generation dairy farmer said the $1 litre milk was “breaking” Queensland dairy farmers, and it needed to be stopped.

“The fellows down south are copping it bad,” he said.

“So we’ll get behind them and put the pressure on the big supermarkets.”

Mr Duncan said he’s noticed consumers are taking note of the saga, with branded milk being snapped up off the shelf.

Mr Duncan runs a fully automated dairy, where the cattle can “milk themselves” throughout the day.

But despite having the robotic machines, Mr Duncan and his son are busy on the farm from sun up to sun down.

“We’re always getting told to be more efficient, but I don’t know how much more efficient we can get,” he said.

Mr Duncan said the cost of producing milk also escalated during autumn.

“A cow usually calves in April to June and is milked until summer,” he said.

“But if you want to milk in autumn it’s unnatural for a cow, the cost to produce the milk is more because they don’t produce as much as they normally would.”

The rally in Brisbane attracted hundreds of farmers and Queensland Dairy Organisation President Brian Tessmann said the event had been organised in conjunction with other rallies throughout the country.

“QDO and its members have been frustrated about the poor treatment they have been receiving from the major retailers since the start of the $1milk price war in 2011,” Mr Tessmann said.

“There has been an overwhelming level of community support and interest since the industry’s woes were again made public for all to see in the last month.

“QDO has been encouraging consumers to buy branded milk since 2011 so it is heartening to see the message is again circulating and getting traction with consumers.”

He said since Coles started the $1 milk more than $200million a year had been stripped out of the dairy supply chain with the already small margins for dairy farmers slashed.

“With all major retailers undervaluing milk we have seen many Queensland dairy farmers leave the industry as it is no longer become profitable for them to continue,” he said.


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