Farmers in shock

By Rodney Woods on June 14, 2017
  • Farmers in shock

    Always behind... Invergordon farmer Mark Norman said farmers could not catch up with the opening price Murray Goulburn is offering.

Disappointment was the common theme among Murray Goulburn suppliers after the co-operative announced a low opening milk price last week.

The dairy co-operative announced an opening price of $4.70 per kg of milk solids on Tuesday and Strathmerton farmer Andrew Wilson, who has supplied Murray Goulburn for all his eight-year dairying life, said he got a shock.

‘‘First thoughts were shock, dismay, disappointment, sad. I thought on reading the dairy signals that the worst case scenario was they would have opened where they finished this year ($4.92/kg MS). To go backwards, I was taken aback,’’ he said.

Invergordon supplier Mark Norman also expected the price to be higher after recent closures of Murray-Goulburn sites.

‘‘I’m disgusted in them. I thought after the year we’ve been through and the shutting of factories, it would be in the high $5s ($5/kg MS),’’ he said.

Mr Norman said at the current price, it made it difficult to budget and said he and his family were weighing up their options.

‘‘We are weighing options up at the moment for what we do. Stability in the milk price (is necessary). We can’t plan, we are borrowing on hope and then not getting it (the price offered). That’s not good business,’’ he said.

‘‘You’re trying to stay loyal to the biggest dairy company, but when others are opening up better it’s hard to stay loyal.’’

Mr Wilson said the announced price would do no favours for anyone and agreed that loyalty was hard to keep.

‘‘That price doesn’t help any farmers, it’s just a horrible number. Our season starts on July 1 and we are told a few days ago what the price is. It’s better than on the day but this price provides no comfort to any dairy farmer,’’ he said.

‘‘The biggest concern for me is if they (Murray Goulburn) lose 10 per cent more suppliers. That’s a big worry to both the industry and the company after the announcement. Losing 30 per cent of suppliers in 15 months could be reality. I’m not sure how they stop that.

‘‘I would not be surprised if the private companies are up to a dollar more (than Murray Goulburn). We can’t go broke for loyalty. You’d be negligent not too look at it (changing companies) — 80¢ (more) is scary.’’

Mr Norman said it was ‘‘no good’’ at the current price.

‘‘People are trying to catch up and we can’t catch up with this price,’’ he said.

By Rodney Woods on June 14, 2017

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