More turmoil plagues WA dairy industry

A FURTHER three farming families have left or are leaving WA's dairy industry after processors said they did not want their milk. By Mal Gill.
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One is a Brownes Dairy supplier and two are Harvey Fresh suppliers.
Brownes Dairy suppliers Michael and Frances Armstrong, Northcliffe, face termination of their contract in March.
They were on the same contract as former suppliers Dale Hanks, Graham Manning and Tony Ferraro, who were dropped by Brownes last year, but six months behind them.
The Armstrongs saw third-generation farmer and former Western Dairy chairman Mr Hanks and regular milk quality award-winner and fifth generation farmer Mr Manning forced out of the industry in October, and Mr Ferraro and his two sons reduced to giving away milk to avoid tipping it out.
The Armstrongs accepted the same contract from a former Brownes managing director as the others but had to wait six months for a contract with Harvey Fresh to expire before they could swap processors.
In October last year, the Armstrongs received notice from Brownes their contract would be terminated.
Brownes had indicated to the Armstrongs a standard contract might become available to them – it had indicated the opposite to Mr Hanks, Mr Manning and Mr Ferraro last year.
But the Armstrongs decided the standard Brownes farmgate price of between 43 and 45 cents per litre was not sufficient to sustain their dairy operation.
It was the same price they said they had received for their milk in 2000 under the dairy quota system.
They began selling their dairy cows and transitioning to beef cattle in October.
Until then they had been on track to run 530 milkers but this month they confirmed they do not expect to milk cows beyond March and will leave the industry, having built their herd up after starting with 140 cows.
Former Harvey Fresh suppliers, Dean and Ellen Barbetti, Waterloo, and David and Jenny Hutton, Capel, have already left the industry.
At the end of October, Mr Barbetti met with Agriculture and Food Minister Mark Lewis, along with Mr Hanks, Mr Manning and Mr Ferraro, to discuss the dairy crisis.
He and his wife are understood to have since dispersed their herd and retired from dairy farming.
The Huttons have sold their 340 cow herd – rated as the 16th best Holstein-Friesian herd out of 1802 registered herds in Australia – and leased out their 404 hectare farm to another Harvey Fresh supplier from December 1.
The Barbetti and Hutton families, along with three other Harvey Fresh suppliers, were told in July their milk would not be collected from January 7.
The five had chosen to remain on their existing Harvey Fresh contracts in 2015 after Parmalat took over Harvey Fresh the previous year and offered new contracts with a reduced base price but incentive increases for milk production growth.
Parmalat withdrew the new contracts last April when the eastern States dairy industry was plunged into crisis by processors Murray Goulburn and Fonterra being first to react to a global glut of dairy product and European dumping on Asian export markets.
Harvey Fresh continued to collect their milk after the original contract ran out.
In November it relented and offered the five revised six-month contracts with a possibility of a revision and extension before the June expiry date.
At the time Harvey Fresh indicated it remained hopeful that the global oversupply would correct in 2017 to enable it to grow its UHT (ultra high temperature) sales to Asia.
Three signed the revised contracts and will continue supplying Harvey Fresh.
To help cope with surplus milk during the spring flush in WA, Parmalat was trucking WA milk from Harvey Fresh to Adelaide and Darwin.
The 4200 kilometre, 55 hour triple-road-train journey using two drivers, from the Harvey Fresh factory in Harvey to a Parmalat Australia bottling plant in Darwin and believed to be the longest milk delivery run in the world, will finish at the end of this month.
Source: Queensland

Mirá También

Así lo expresó Domingo Possetto, secretario de la seccional Rafaela, quien además, afirmó que a los productores «habitualmente los ignoran los gobiernos». Además, reconoció la labor de los empresarios de las firmas locales y aseguró que están «esperanzados» con la negociación entre SanCor y Adecoagro.

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