Fresh milk ‘undervalued’: Partridge

Zach RelphCountryman
Brunswick dairy farmer Michael Partridge says fresh milk has become an undervalued product.
Camera IconBrunswick dairy farmer Michael Partridge says fresh milk has become an undervalued product. Credit: Jon Gellweiler

Returning value to the dairy supply chain to improve farmgate milk prices is vital to restabilising the embattled sector, a South West dairy figurehead says.

Michael Partridge emerged from a consultation seminar with Dairy Australia officials near Bunbury last Thursday to throw his support behind the Australian Dairy Plan.

The Brunswick farmer and WAFarmers dairy section president was among about 50 milk suppliers and processors to attend the event at Sanctuary Golf Resort in Pelican Point.

Mr Partridge, pictured, said the dairy sector had suffered a significant blow amid the supermarkets’ pricing war and $1-a-litre scheme, leading fresh milk to become an undervalued product.

“A lot of value has dropped out of the supply chain and cost of production has increased significantly,” he said.

“People have been pushed to producing milk year-round, which is difficult with the increased production costs.

The power of the supermarkets and how they dictate the milk value is a problem — they need to value our product so the industry is supported.”

The seminar was held to allow South West dairy farmers to respond to the Australian Dairy Plan, which was released last month.

It was the only consultation held in WA, with the nationwide workshops set to conclude in New South Wales at Wagga on June 27.

Australian Dairy Plan independent chairman John Brumby last month flagged current difficulties in delivering profits and strained relationships with processors as serious industry challenges.

Mr Brumby said the report would provide the platform for nationwide industry consultation to devise a new direction for the struggling milk sector.

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