Diversifying key to dairy industry’s survival

Zach RelphCountryman
Cookernup dairy farmer Albert Ieraci is looking to diversify his on-farm operations.
Camera IconCookernup dairy farmer Albert Ieraci is looking to diversify his on-farm operations. Credit: Zach Relph

Albert Ieraci is scared by the state of Australia’s dairy industry.

The Cookernup dairy producer admits the country’s reducing feed stocks and dropping milk production provide no long-term confidence for farmers seeking to make on-farm decisions.

“It is scary,” Mr Ieraci said.

“If we keep going like this, we won’t have an industry.”

The wary comments come as Rabobank’s dairy report for the September quarter, released earlier this month, found Australia’s major feed and fodder shortages were hindering the sector.

Rabobank dairy analyst Emma Higgins said the reduced feed stocks prevented an opportunity for a sustained recovery in milk production in the 2018-19 season.

As a result, Ms Higgins forecast the country’s milk production to fall 2 per cent to 9.1 billion litres.

In an effort to combat rising on-farm costs and Australia’s low milk price, Mr Ieraci is diversifying his operations and extending into other markets.

The 54-year-old, who milks about 100 cows, is seeking to focus further on his Holstein Friesian cattle breeding business, Ieravale Stud, while increasing hay sales.

Mr Ieraci is also poised to grow 80-100 acres of potato this year in partnership with Yarloop-based potato grower Patrick Fox.

“You can’t just rely on milk,” he said.

“We are selling hay this year and doing the potatoes also.”

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