A PEAK market research company has predicted the dairy industry to rank in the top five performing industries in 2018 with an eight per cent revenue increase, but Gladfield dairy farmer Kevin Bourke said it would take a change in consumer buying attitude to shift the dial on the Southern Downs.
IBISWorld’s senior industry analyst William McGregor said the predictions were based on rising demands and returns for domestic dairy products.
“With the Australian dollar projected to depreciate this year, we anticipate local dairy products will become more competitive in export markets,” Mr McGregor said.
“We’re also expecting an increase in the size of the national dairy cattle herd, which will drive up milk volumes, and contribute to an expected eight per cent increase in revenue in 2017-18,” said Mr McGregor.
After an industry downturn brought low prices and depressed milk production, this prediction might come as good news to some dairies, but Mr Bourke said it wouldn’t be enough to revive the local industry.
He said good seasons in previous years had been a terrific help, but Southern Downs farmers were yet to see any improvements to returns on Queensland milk.
“It costs more to produce milk in Queensland, and processors can freight the milk back in from NSW and Victoria for the same price,” Mr Bourke said.
A number of Queensland dairy farmers have left the industry in recent years due to ongoing dry weather, increasing power prices and the rising price of grain.
But Mr Bourke said dairy was still a viable industry and slow, sustainable growth was the key.
“We’re committed to the industry and have built a new dairy and a lot of other infrastructure to try to make our business better,” he said.
“An increasing demand for fresh milk would represent an opportunity for us to increase our production and our cattle numbers.
“I hope that people drink more branded milk that comes from a processor.”
The total number of dairy cattle in Queensland rose two per cent from 2015-16 according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
Source: Warwick Daily News