Much has been written about the troubles plaguing the Australian dairy industry.
Since the introduction of $1/litre milk in supermarkets, dairy farmers have been going to the wall, unable to remain viable with such low paybacks for their product.
The chainstores continue to say they are not responsible for this and that their cheap milk price is not to blame because they’re the ones taking the cut on profits. Coles recently released this explanation on You Tube, explaining their side of the story.
Make of this ‘explanation’ what you will. Coles says only 4 per cent of Australian milk ends up in Coles-branded containers and that they still stock the full range of milk on shelves. What they neglect to say is that most consumers, when faced with the choice of $1/litre milk or the more expensive branded milks, choose the cheap milk, thus reducing the market share of the branded products.
City-based consumers have often asked the question, ‘If the price isn’t good why don’t farmers just say no?’
To which many dairy farmers say their product has a short shelf life and they have very few other avenues to sell it to the public. Because after milk leaves the dairy farm it goes to a large processing facility where it is pastuerised and homogenised and finally bottled for drinking.
These final processes are expensive – yet vital – if milk is to be consumed legally. Drinking fresh milk straight from the cow, while romantic, is acutally not legal.
Other consumers have asked, ‘Why don’t farmers process and sell their own milk?’
It’s a good question and it’s one which Scenic Rim dairy farmer Greg Dennis has been considering for some time.
He’s a fourth-generation farmer, who runs the Tamrookum Robotic Dairy about 45 minutes from our home. I have previously written about visiting his robotic dairy with my sons, who thought the milking robots were pretty cool, but not as cool as all the cow POO!
Greg recently invested $1-million in a processing system and hopes to release his own bottled milk for sale on May 1. It will be branded Scenic Rim 4Real Milk and will be sold in glass bottles (yay!).
Greg did a fantastic interview on Steve Austin’s ABC Radio Brisbane morning show yesterday morning, explaining his reasons for his investment.
He said the crunch came when he was presented with a new contract by his processor which would have him selling milk for BELOW his cost of production. He realised this wasn’t sustainable and something had to give. So he’s put everything on the line to spend $1million on a facility which will enable him to process his own milk. He will also run a truck which will deliver his milk to retailers.
His new website is about to go live and he hopes to have his milk on shelves by May 1. If you support the sustainable future of dairy farms in Australia, why not ask your local store to stock Greg’s Scenic Rim 4Real Milk? And if you’re near Tamrookum (about 25mins out of Beaudesert) stop in and take a tour of the robotic dairy.