Our dairy farmers want you to ask: do you use local milk?

DESPITE the international milk market being in turmoil from over-pasteurisation, producers on the North Coast are in a steady state. But only if locals keep buying local.

Dairy market analyst with Dairy Australia John Droppert said there had not been much of a change in farmgate prices despite the low trend overseas.

"To look at the international market, it has been in a pretty sad place for quite a few months," he said.

"Luckily we have seen a lot less movement in farmgate prices here, a lot of that international collapse has not been reflected at the farmgate.

"The domestic market has been able to muffle that affect from the global market. The Australian industry has been able to ride it out to this point."

Mr Droppert said for producers in the Clarence Valley and surrounding regions the real task will come if the global market continues its current trend.

"The long and the short of it is, yes there will be a flow through on to the North Coast market," he said. "If southern prices remain low, we will sort of begin to see a challenge.

"Because of the low prices the producers in the southern regions may move their milk north up the coast to find new marketplaces.

"Local growers will come under increased pressure with cheaper milks filling out the market. Luckily local people like buying local milk."

Peter Watt, director of Local Farm Fresh who recently bought out Big River Milk at Southgate, said he had already seen the market flooded by cheaper milks in Australia.

"Luckily we have a fairly loyal customer base already established," he said. "But what we offer is premium farm fresh milk. These lower cost variants taste like they are factory produced. I have noticed there is a flooding in the market of cheap mass-produced milk that is being utilised by the café owners focussed on their own bottom line.

"It certainly puts pressure on us to drop our prices; we really struggle to drop our prices, that just means we don't get as much market share."

Despite the flooding from outside milk sources, Mr Watt firmly believes in the local product and the support for local growers.

"The reason why we bought into Big River Milk is because we believe that local farmers need supporting," he said.

"What we want is for the community to ask their cafe "do you use local milk?'"

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