Dairy Farm Monitor Project doesn’t surprise farmers

By Rodney Woods

Girgarre farmers Tim Leahy and Russell Wheeler are not surprised at the findings in the Agriculture Victoria and Dairy Australia Dairy Farm Monitor Project.

The report found the average net farm income in the northern region reduced from $73,000 in 2017-18 to negative $85,000 in 2018-19.

Earnings before interest and tax reduced from $185,000 to $24,000 across the same period.

The report also revealed these were the lowest figures recorded in the project’s 13-year history.

Mr Wheeler said the reason people were leaving the industry came down to profitability.

“People have reduced their herds,” he said.

“We’ve reduced our cattle numbers. It all comes down to all your costs.

“That’s why people are bailing out.

“You have to make profit. We’re not here for our looks.

“It used to be a lifestyle and now farming is profit-driven.”

Despite a six per cent increase to the milk price compared to the previous year, Mr Leahy said high costs meant farmers were not seeing the full benefit.

“High feed costs and below-average milk prices and if you had to buy water (are why net income has reduced).

“All these expenses eat their way through your profitability.”