Craig Warhurst

Milk war leaves industry reeling

A SURVEY of dairy farmers shows the milk price war which began on Australia Day has left the industry in NSW more than $15 million out of pocket.

NSW Farmers Dairy Committee Chair Terry Toohey says the results show milk prices paid to farmers have dropped by an average 1.4 cents per litre.

"Most of the 60 members we surveyed, who have recently renegotiated contracts with processors, say they were forced to accept lower prices for their milk," he said.

"The survey results show the average price paid to farmers for a litre of milk has dropped from 47.7 cents last year, to 46.3 cents this year.

"The two major supermarkets have repeatedly claimed that dairy farmers wouldn't be adversely affected by their aggressive discounting tactics, but our figures are proof those claims are wrong.

"Dairy farmers in NSW produced a billion litres of milk last year according to Dairy Australia, so we're expecting losses this year of more than $15 million," he said.

Mr Toohey will present the details of the NSW Farmers survey when he gives evidence to the Senate inquiry looking into the impact of supermarket price decisions in Melbourne today.

"The market power of the supermarkets must be restrained to ensure the sustainability of the dairy industry into the future," he said.

Details of the NSW Farmers submission to the inquiry can be found at www.nswfarmers.org.au



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