A NEW report has revealed Victoria’s nation-leading dairy farmers, including in Gippsland, experienced the best financial returns in more than six years in 2020-21.

Minister for Agriculture Mary-Anne Thomas recently released the 2020-21 Dairy Farm Monitor report, which shows the hard work and resilience of Victoria’s dairy farmers has paid off after experiencing some difficult years responding to recent dry conditions, low water allocations and market volatility.

Agriculture Victoria’s Dairy Farm Monitor project is a collaboration with Dairy Australia to provide critical insight for industry into how the sector is tracking.

The annual report is a comprehensive financial and production analysis of 80 Victorian dairy farm businesses in south-western Victoria, Gippsland and northern Victoria.

The report showed that in 2020-21, 22 of the 25 Gippsland participants (88 per cent) had a positive return on total assets.

On average, farm businesses in Gippsland maintained herd size and milk production, per cow and per hectare.

Approximately 1100 dairy farm businesses in Gippsland produced 2 billion litres of milk in 2020-21, accounting for 36 per cent of Victoria’s milk production output and 23 per cent of Australia’s milk production.

However, wet conditions, particularly in south and west Gippsland, contributed to lower homegrown feed production and economic performance.

The quality benchmarking data in the report gives Victorian dairy farmers the ability to make comparisons and identify areas they could change to improve the productivity, profitability and sustainability of their businesses.

While average dairy farm profits were up across most of the state, dairy farmers in Victoria’s north posted the best results, taking advantage of favourable seasonal conditions to record the highest profits this region has seen for 15 years.

Since the last report, farm cash flows have increased from the previous year, with 94 per cent of farms recording a positive return.

Victoria is a leading contributor to Australia’s dairy industry, accounting for 77 per cent of Australia’s dairy exports valued at $2.1 billion.

The gross value of milk produced in Victoria is worth $2.7 billion (2018-19).

The sector supports almost 10,000 jobs with more than half of these workers located in regional Victoria.

The 2020-21 Dairy Farm Monitor report is available at bit.ly/2ZNEx6d.