Low price may lead to milk shortage

Rebecca TriggerCountryman
Low price may lead to milk shortage
Camera IconLow price may lead to milk shortage Credit: The West Australian

WA is facing another milk shortage crisis unless farm gate prices lift to reflect increased production costs, dairy producers have warned.

During summer grass dries up and producers have to buy in fodder and grain to feed their cows, WAFarmers dairy section president Phil Depiazzi said.

Utilities including electricity and water costs have also soared.

Mr Depiazzi said many producers would scale back production over the warmer months unless buyers offered higher prices.

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"In the past we have seen milk brought in from South Australia and I guess there's no reason why one wouldn't anticipate that would be the same scenario this year," he said.

Spring production was down three per cent last year. "It's certainly of concern for us as dairy farmers and certainly should be of concern to WA consumers because they're not getting a product that is as fresh as it should be," Mr Depiazzi said.

He said a recent report found many farmers are only breaking even at 45c a litre for white milk. He called for major supermarkets to lift the price they are willing to pay by about 10 per cent to ensure dairy producers' operations were sustainable.

Mardella dairy farmer Geoff Manning also warned the quality of milk consumers were getting would not be as high if it came in from the Eastern States.

"What happens is because it can take up to two days to get over here, the temperature goes up and the quality drops," he said.

"Any blind man would know that to increase milk supply you just increase price."

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