News

Independent dairies take on duopoly

Graham MacIntyre owns Lynward Queensland Milk, and independent producer and distributor.
Graham MacIntyre owns Lynward Queensland Milk, and independent producer and distributor. Kari Bourne

THE milk trench warfare Coles and Woolworths are waging is strangling the Queensland dairy industry and forcing farmers to either sell out, or go it alone.

A number of independent producers and distributors battled their way into the market after de-regulation at the turn of the millennium.

Supermarket giants are selling milk for $1 a litre, even as the export market sits at closer to $1.40.

Unfortunately, Queensland's milk export machinery has been dismantled, leaving farmers unwilling or unable to afford bottling to watch their income dwindle.

Lynward Queensland Milk owner Graham MacIntyre launched his maroon-labelled milk in September last year, faced with the option of selling generations of history with the farm or striking out.

From just supplying a few stores in the Sunshine Coast hinterland, he now covers much of south-east Queensland including the Gold Coast and out to Ipswich.

Now one of the big supermarket players could supply his product.

"My aim is to keep my family farm going," he said.

"If I didn't do this, we would have been sold up and given up dairying."

The jersey milk he sells, like many other independent producers, is often richer than other store-bought milks.

Something Baffle Fresh Dairy owner Bruce Poulsen on the Fraser Coast sells products between Childers and Gladstone.

He said it was still a challenge competing against "the cut-throat big boys".

"The industry as a whole - this dollar milk stuff is not good for the industry long term," Mr Poulsen said.

"It's too much power to the supermarkets and too much to the processors.

"(Farmers) are getting paid 10%-15% less than they were 10 years ago.

"Noone works for less than they did 10 years ago."

He said that was why farmers were trying to breakaway from the major brands, even though it would not be easy.

However, many would never be able to take on the risks.

"It's a different mindset to market your product than it is to just put it in a vat and hoping the big fellas pick it up," he said.

"And it can be a massive capital expense."

Both he and Mr MacIntyre said the milk was simply better tasting when bought from an independent producer.

"If people could just do this test - make a cup of coffee with $1 milk and one with independent milk.

"They would tell instantly that one was 1000% better."

Queensland Dairy Organisation president Brian Tessman said the state industry "should not be stuffed", with demand for milk both here and overseas being so strong.

He wants the State Government to act to help save the industry.

"The government needs to look at this question," he said.

"Is killing the cheapest and best sort of milk for Queensland producers something that should happen?

"The government should see that the market for domestic milk operates fairly and freely."

Agriculture minister John McVeigh said the government would do everything to help through cutting red tape but could not offer any financial assistance to dairy farmers.

Topics:  coles, dairy, woolworths




Join the Community.

Get your local news, your way.

Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Coalition says it will pay up for floods - eventually

Warwick 2013 flooding. Photo Gerard Walsh / Warwick Daily News

Coalition speaks out about disaster funds.

How you can help save young woman's life

Maryvale woman Tracey Young is battling Atypical hemolytic-uremic syndrome (aHUS), with her treatment costing $500,000 per year.

Auction to raise money for local with debalitating illness

Latest deals and offers


She’ll be apples in Stanthorpe as festival kicks off

Jonathan Apple, festival president John Thouard, former Young Ambassadors Miriam Spina and Taylah Wantling and Isabella Grape welcomed the start of the 2016 Festival.

It’s a great start for the 10 days of festival ahead'

IBAC Evidence Police Bashing 5

Officers drag the woman back to her cell

In this video the woman drinks water from the toilet.

IBAC Evidence Police Bashing 4

In this video the woman asks for water as the tap in the room is broken

IBAC Evidence Police Bashing 3

In this video police continue their search and male officers are present despite...

Sale nears on last large block of land in Coolum

The 43.37ha property on South Coolum Rd has sold.

South Coolum Rd property to be land banked

Caloundra’s former Centrepoint Buffet site up for sale

FOR SALE: The home of the old Centrepoint Buffet

Restaurant fined for unhygienic practices closed months ago