Queensland dairy industry struggling as farmers hit wall

MARK Giebels knows how the dairy supply industry works, he also knows the uncertain future which it faces.

Having worked at Davies Way for years, Mark has seen the gradual decline in dairy farming numbers over the past five or so years all thanks to the constant struggle which is the $1 a litre milk.

The company which Mark works for has been servicing the dairy industry since 1911 and has had an office here in Queensland for what would be getting close to 19 years.

Basically Davies Way wholesales to the industry, it supplies the stores who then on-sell and in the process Mark says he has "a fair bit to do directly with the farmers".

"So I guess, from our perspective, when farmers have been faced with the situation they've been faced with over the last five years or whenever this $1 a litre thing started, we've seen a gradual decline in numbers and of course that means it's getting harder and harder to make sales," Mark said.

"We live and breathe on sales and if we can't sell product then eventually you know we can't sustain ourselves."

Mark, who has spoken to Central Queensland farmers himself, said most of the dairy farms which have "gone out over the last five years haven't stopped being farms".

"They might get out of dairy and get into something else but the amount of money that they pump into the local economy as a dairy farm could be three or four times the amount of money that they would pump into that economy if they were just growing loosen or something like that.

"They're still farms, they're just not dairy farms and that just means its effecting economies of towns all over Queensland."

The other problem which has presented itself in the midst of things is the milk supply struggle.

"So all the milk that was produced that ended up on the table or used as breakfast cereal milk was local, now they're not producing enough milk to cover Queensland, they are getting milk up from Victoria to sustain that and that's just pointless."

"They could start producing more milk tomorrow if they got more money and they'd happily do that but at the moment when you're faced with the cost of production and you only get a couple of cents above that, it really is struggle street."

Mark says for years the Queensland dairy industry have been saying for the past five years they "can't do it, it's unsustainable and farmers will hit the wall" when it comes to cheap milk prices.

"No one is listening and farmers are hitting the wall, they're getting to a point where they just can't sustain it any longer and unfortunately they're just getting out (of the industry)."

"Farmers don't blame the consumer for buying the $1 litre milk, they understand that the average person's struggling just as much as anyone else."

"It's just a ridiculous state of affairs, it should have been stopped before it even started yet no one had the balls to do anything about it."

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