SETTING up the season in northern Victoria may have been expensive, but dairy farmers have made the most of it, according to the latest Dairy Australia production data.
Northern Victoria and NSW Riverina lead the milk production charge, with output rising 10.2 per cent for the month of May compared with the same month last year, and 8.8 per cent for the season to date.
Murray Dairy chief executive Jenny Wilson said access to irrigation water enabled farmers in the region to kick off their autumn when other regions where still waiting for the break. She said farmers got good growth out of their feed base and were able to convert it into milk.
“It was expensive but once people had committed to putting in the feed, they will purchase water and get it up and going,” she said.
“It did come at a cost — the price of temporary water was up there for a while. We had some late rain but growing had started to slow down a bit by that time.”
Ms Wilson said confidence was still low, with cashflow “pretty tight” and there was also still a lot of uncertainty about water.
Australian production was 3.4 per cent up for the financial year to May with a total of 8.7 billion litres.
Tasmania had the largest growth, up 23 per cent for May, with production for the season rising 9 per cent.
Drought has hit Queensland production with monthly milk down 8.4 per cent and year-to-date production back 5.8 per cent.
Dairy Australia analyst Norman Repacholi said increased production in some regions could have been a result of farmers producing milk ahead of mooted lower farmgate milk prices earlier in the season.
“They could have bought forward income with the anticipation of higher costs and lower income,” he said.
Mr Repacholi said western Victoria’s milk production reflected challenges with the late autumn or “zero autumn break” as well as bushfires.
By: SIMONE SMITH
Source: The Weekly Times