Mark your calendars for early June, 2020.
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Cows leave the stable at a farm in Conteville, some 60 km north of Rouen, on October 15, 2019, a day after the French state re-authorized the selling of milk following the fire at the Lubrizol factory. - fire at a French chemical factory which deposited a blanket of oily soot on plants for miles around, had cost farmers an estimated 40 to 50 million euros ($44-55 million), the agriculture minister said on October 11. The government banned the harvesting of crops or the sale of animal products from a wide swathe of tainted countryside around the town of Rouen in northwest France in case the chemicals burnt at the Lubrizol factory last month had given off toxins. (Photo by LOU BENOIST / AFP) (Photo by LOU BENOIST/AFP via Getty Images)

For many, this signals the official start of winter in what has been a relatively favourable start to the year rainfall-wise.

It also heralds the all-important opening milk prices from processers.

This year, the COVID-19 pandemic circumstances have highlighted the critical role that our primary industries have in maintaining our supply chain – and the dairy industry has played a major part in this.

There is no doubt there is a level of uncertainty, given the pandemic situation, but milk processers must ensure they are maximising returns to the dairy farmgate with a strong opening milk price.

A strong opening price will create a level of confidence for the dairy industry, which is operating in a time of unprecedented uncertainty, and will allow dairy farmers to build and maintain some sort of financial buffer at the farmgate.

On the other hand, any opening prices with a ‘five’ in front will signal a drastic re-think by farmers and some may be forced out of the industry.

If we did see an opening milk price around the $6 mark, we will most likely see a reduction in the national milk pool and many dairy farmers would sit idle – contemplating their future growth.

For dairy farmers across Victoria, while we await the June 1 deadline, it is important we all evaluate our own farming systems and determine what will work best for our own farms moving forward.

If we do see low prices, it is very important that we understand our own business systems and how profit is generated.

This will help us achieve a better outcome on-farm and generate greater confidence and profitability in our industry.

We are living in extraordinary times, but there’s no better time than the present to sure-up and rebuild confidence in one of our most important primary industries – with a fair opening milk price.

The giant Holstein cow with spots arranged as a map of the world is designed to celebrate the farmer-owned cooperative’s diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts.

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