G’DAY mate, It’s been a while since I wrote and I can’t even blame the cows, that pesky boundary fence or even the wife and kids for taking up my time.
You see, us dairy farmers have more going on than the Government and its citizenship saga, postal vote and energy “crisis” combined.
If I told you what’s happened recently you’d think I’d gone completely nuts. Well, actually, I shouldn’t be joking about that — on Friday Bega Cheese bought a Queensland peanut company.
But that’s only the start of what’s shaping up to be a very different dairy industry.
As you probably know, it looks like Murray Goulburn has been sold, so to familiarise myself with the possible new owners — Canada’s Saputo — I’ve started eating maple syrup on my breakfast and the missus has been investigating the Canadian prime minister — she says he’s really interesting.
But, in all seriousness, I’m off to a supplier meeting this week to hear about the bid myself.
Matt and Trish say they can’t complain about Warrnambool Cheese and Butter since Saputo took over.
Their milk price didn’t drop when MG and Fonterra suppliers copped a whack, but the spring price could be better.
I’m not completely convinced. The news of takeover hit me for six.
Was it the best offer? It’s a huge decision to sell the co-operative, but it sounds like it was inevitable.
Just when you think there’s enough going on, Fonterra says it will form a co-operative in Australia.
These milk processors jostling for attention — it’s worse than unchaining the dogs in the morning when they are all desperate for a scratch behind the ears. Processors are falling over themselves to sell us their plans.
Even Australian Consolidated Milk and Camperdown Dairy Company are planning factories.
Me, I’m just trying to pay the bills.
On the plus side, my silage is in, cows are peaking and there’s rain forecast. It’s times like these, I wish I was running prime lambs and sheep — have you seen the prices?
Just kidding, wool politics makes dairy industry issues look civilised.
I’ve still got my lotto ticket — the right numbers and I’ll be joining you up north. Take care, cheers.
• Simone Smith is The Weekly Times dairy reporter