Last year was toughest, says DA chair

By Dairy News

The 2018–19 season was one of the toughest in recent memory, Dairy Australia chair Jeff Odgers has remarked in his annual report.

“Persistent, very dry conditions across all regions significantly impacted the cost of key inputs and farm profitability, yet farmers showed their resilience in the face of these challenges.

“National milk production decreased 5.7 per cent to 8.8 billion litres.

“The Murray region was hardest hit, with high water prices and falling production an ongoing concern.”

Mr Odgers said Dairy Australia worked hard to support farmers through a challenging year.

“A feed shortage planning campaign was launched to help farmers assess the seasonal settings, optimise spring feed production and quickly mobilise procurement. The combined response of our Southbank and Regional Development Program (RDPs) teams made a real difference at farm level.”

Mr Odgers said latest survey data shows nearly two in three farmers (66 per cent) have attended or participated in at least one regional activity or event. This participation rate has risen slowly over the past five years and corresponds with an improvement in overall farmer satisfaction with engagement.

He said the big issues at stake are well summarised in the Australian Dairy Situation Analysis report produced by Dairy Australia and the partner organisations.

“It shows how the market, in terms of global competition, the supply chain and consumer trends, has evolved faster than our industry.

“The profitability of dairy farming has also become more volatile and increased risk management skills are required. There is a widespread shortage of skilled labour. Industry structure is another area where we can make improvements. There are also plenty of opportunities for the industry, built on continuing strong demand for dairy products in Australia and around the world.”

The annual general meeting was held in Warragul on November 29.

Mr Jeff Odgers was re-elected and other directors elected to the board were Josephine Rozman and Paul Wood. Director Jan West retired.