MAYBE if Murray Goulburn had called dairy maintenance technician, Ted Treacy of Treacy Dairy Supplies in Leongatha, before setting last year’s milk price, they wouldn’t be in the trouble they are now.
That’s drawing something of a long bow, but through his connections with the dairy industry in Ireland, Ted was aware of some of the changes that were afoot in the European market that ultimately impacted the world dairy prices for the worse, before it happened.
“They all knew the quotas were coming off and they’d geared up for it and when the time came, they hit the ground running with extra production,” Mr Treacy said.
“Some of them have gone broke as a result and the supply of milk is settling back but you could certainly see it coming.”
Mr Treacy says the European dairy market has a lot more impact on world prices than some people give it credit for.
“The local firms will tell you they set their own prices at the start of July each year, but it’s very much on a par with the prices being paid in Europe, set the previous February.
“They’re paying the equivalent of $3.90 over there this season, which is terrible but they are talking about paying a minimum of $5.07 at the start of the new season (February).
“And we are starting to see some movement for the better at the auctions, for some of the products, up 29% in the past three months so hopefully we’ve turned the corner.
“I think you’ll find, things will look quite a bit better early in the New Year.”
New dairy works
In the meantime, Treacy Dairy Supplies is very busy at the moment as dairy farmers continue with their round of maintenance and parts replacement programs.
“We’d usually have five or six major projects going on at this time of the year but we’re back to one as people hold off. But they are still doing all their service and maintenance work, as you’d expect they would.
“It’s really been quite busy.”
So, it’s very much head down and tail up as the spring growth starts to kick in and hopefully, if the season remains good, local dairy farmers will be able to come through this present downturn in the best possible shape.