Dairy

Milk price index launched

By Rodney Woods

Dairy farmers will be better able to understand and interpret commodity market price signals following the launch of the new milk price index last week.

Federal Agriculture Minister David Littleproud said the index would provide farmers with another source of dairy market information.

‘‘Farmers will be able to see an index of commodity prices received by Australian dairy processors for cheese, butter, skim milk powder and whole milk powder exports,’’ Mr Littleproud said.

‘‘There will also be a one-year forecast of prices that will be updated quarterly, along with regular global, national and regional commentary.

‘‘A retrospective farm gate milk price index will also assist farmers.

‘‘Once farmers begin providing prices via an online form, an index of actual prices received in each of the eight dairy regions will be built.

‘‘The more dairy farmers take part, the better this index will be,’’ he said.

‘‘The commodity milk price index will be an extra tool to help dairy farmers plan ahead, with more market information on commodity dairy prices and global conditions.’’

Australian Dairy Farmers’ president Terry Richardson said the index aimed to help farmers make decisions about their businesses.

‘‘The index was developed so that farmers have a more comprehensive understanding and are able to better interpret price signals,’’ Mr Richardson said.

The index is part of the government’s $579million Dairy Support Package, assisting farmers affected by retrospective cuts to farm gate milk prices in 2015-16.

The department will also work with industry to educate farmers on how best to use and interpret market signals from the index.

Education material is being produced by RM Consulting Group, which will be delivered to farmers at dairy industry events.

■Farmers can access the index at: www.agriculture.gov.au/milkpriceindex

■Feedback and questions can be emailed to: milkpriceindex@agriculture.gov.au