Processors contribute to farmer disappointment

By Sophie Baldwin

DAIRY FARMER Scott Sommerville has been involved in dairy for almost four decades and says he has never seen things so bad.

“This really is the worst state I have ever seen the dairy industry in,” Mr Sommerville said.

“It has been the hardest to make ends meet — our costs are just obscene and milk price is not keeping up.

“I think processors are showing a massive lack of foresight in not restoring confidence in the industry. They are building all these plants — but where is the milk going to come from?”

The Timmering farmer said the recent Dairy Australia survey which indicated one in five farmers were looking to exit the industry was a good case in point.

He said he’d talked to a lot of farmers and many of them were saying there was no way they wanted their children to dairy farm for a living — it was just too hard and too stressful.

He knows of a lot of people who have already sold their farms because they are disillusioned with the industry.

Mr Somerville said he would like to see everyone paid the same price for their milk and he thinks processors’ weighted averages are irrelevant.

“My budget on my processor’s opening price was 20 cents under the average based on 250 cows; another farmer milks 80–100 and he was 40 cents under and another farmer with a large Jersey herd with a flat production curve was 2 cents under.

“A high component flat-production curve herd can’t even make the weighted average — which shows why it is so important to get a budget done and not presume that’s the price you will be paid.”