Desperate times for local farmers too

Local dairy, beef and hobby farmers are all having a tough time because of the drought.
Local dairy, beef and hobby farmers are all having a tough time because of the drought.

A local dairy farmer, who doesn’t want to be named, has been speaking to our journalist, Letitia Fitzpatrick, about the effect of the drought here.

“We are struggling dairy farmers and our feed costs have gone up from $404 a tonne two years ago to $640 a tonne, and it goes up every fortnight. with every load.

“Feed is also increasingly harder to get.  It's not just us.  Farmers (dairy, beef or hobby) all around this area are in dire straits.  The drought is affecting so many people that it's scary.

“The milk price is atrocious.  At the moment, it is down to 48 cents a litre.  Inflation-wise, it should be 70 cents a litre but we are not going to get that.  55 cents would be sustainable.not sustainable but a good starting point and also that the price of milk hasn’t gone up since 2010, it’s actually gone down.

“Realistically, we need a minimum 60 cents a litre; 55 cents will cover the grain increases for now.  From what I’m hearing around, no-one is quoting entire figures unless it’s 70c, so it’s talked up in  ‘increases’. 

“Realistically we need more than 10c a litre to break even, as 5c will barely cover grain increases, but it’s a starting point.

“We met with a local milk processor recently, and we told them we need to get more for the milk we provide.   They have helped to look after farmers and for that, the farmers are grateful.

“We don't want to reach out to charities.

“The drought has really heightened things, to the extent that we are seriously questioning our futures and we are not the only ones. 

“We are looking at huge amounts of buy in feed.  It is gut-wrenching, absolutely heartbreaking.  And if we and other dairy farmers go out of business, there will be a huge knock-on effect in a small town like Wauchope."