MILKED DRY: Ross McInnes milks his friesian dairy cattle at his Harrisville farm. Mr McInnes is the Queensland Dairyfarmers' Organisation vice president and hopes the campaign to support dairy farmers keeps going strong.
MILKED DRY: Ross McInnes milks his friesian dairy cattle at his Harrisville farm. Mr McInnes is the Queensland Dairyfarmers' Organisation vice president and hopes the campaign to support dairy farmers keeps going strong. Claudia Baxter

Keep the campaign for dairy farms alive

A MONTH since Murray Goulburn announced it will cut its milk price for supplier, social media has erupted with support for dairy farmers.

Photos of empty supermarket milk shelves have gone viral online, Waleed Aly’s call to support dairy farmers has been shared on Facebook over 90,000 times and dairy farmers have rallied together in public plea for a fairer go.

Queensland Dairyfarmers Organisaton vice-president Ross McInnes said while the support was encouraging, it needed to keep up for change to take place.

“I think every dairy farmer has appreciated the efforts of the public getting behind the dairy farmers campaign,” Mr Mcinnes said.

“The biggest challenge for us now is to keep going after the initial surge.

“How do we keep the momentum of the movement going?”

Mr McInnes said social media has proved a huge help in encouraging shoppers to opt for branded milk over supermarket labels.

Branded milks like Maleny Dairies are selling out, while consumers shun plain-brand “$1 a litre” milks in protest of a supermarket milk price war and poor prices paid by dairy giants Murray Goulburn and Fonterra to farmers.

Maleny Dairies owner Ross Hopper said demand for Maleny Dairies milk was up by about 10% and the pressure was on to bottle more milk for the business’s retail customers.

“Some of the shops have doubled their orders and we’re going flat out but we’re keeping up with the orders,” Mr Hopper said.

It’s this surge Ross McInnes hopes won’t be short lived.

“Some things if they get liked and shared produce a viral effect,” he said.

“And you attract a lot of following and I think that’s been a huge benefit about not buying $1 litre milk.

“But we need to figure out how to keep it in the headlines and not let people forget and go back to buying cheap milk.”

As for the effect the price cut will have on Queensland’s dairy farmers, Mr McInnes said it’s impredictable.

“When you look at milk prices between Victoria and Queensland over the last 12 years, there’s no way anybody could accurately say there is a relationship between the two states’ prices,” he said.

“Eight years out of 12, they go in opposite directions; Queensland goes up while Victoria goes down, or the other way around.”

Mr McInnes said each state depended on different markets.

“It’s simply that Victoria is exposed to a volatile export market, whereas our processes here are looking at a longer term flat supply,” he said.

“This is all from data from Dairy Australia, but we know there are always other facts.”



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