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The Forum > General Discussion > End of Dairy West of the Divide ?

End of Dairy West of the Divide ?

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The price paid at the farm gate for milk is too low to enable the
farmer to survive droughts of the length that occur.
They are unable to build a safety buffer to enable them to feed stock
for years.
As far as I can see the situation east of the dividing range is not
the same as those farmers are not selling their breeding stock.

Has the time come to abandon dairy farming in the areas now devastated
by drought. At least a grain grower does not have hungry animals to
feed when the rains don't come. The financial buffer he needs would
be easier to manage while he waits for rain. The main worry he has is
will he buy grain to sow and risk whether it will rain.
Perhaps some more hard decisions are needed.
Posted by Bazz, Wednesday, 6 November 2019 7:50:17 AM
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Dear Bazz,

You may be right. With higher temperatures due to climate change accentuating and extending droughts conditions the viability of dairy farms west of the divide must be questioned.
Posted by SteeleRedux, Wednesday, 6 November 2019 8:41:15 AM
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Dairy farmers - all farmers in Australia - have been "devastated" by by drought for a couple of centuries. Droughts haven't changed, nor has the whinging. Good farmers survive. Bad farmers don't. And for those who can't help yabbering about climate change - that has nothing to do with drought, as the IPCC has old them.

If farming in Australia was as bad as it is touted, farmers would not still be on the land. What we, as consumers should be concentrating on, is the increasingly poor quality of farm products we are paying too much for so that these 'poor' farmers can export the good good stuff.
Posted by ttbn, Wednesday, 6 November 2019 9:42:29 AM
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Bazz good subject good point, drought is rough and follows on from another one
Low price milk is going to do as much harm as the drought
Power Control, Influence of the big food marketers to kill some suppliers is there for all to see
And it is wrong
My shopping [live much like I did in the real bush] is buying for a few weeks
My larder is long life milk selected for the best price farmers can get
If we all did that it could help, may even bring the retailers in to line
Posted by Belly, Wednesday, 6 November 2019 10:50:08 AM
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Dear Bazz,

I watched the Q and A episode on the drought.
It was heart-wrenching.

Here's a few points that were made that evening:

1) Government water reforms have worsened the effects of
the drought, according to a senior water researcher.

On a Q and A episode that focused on a wide range of
perspectives about the drought Maryanne Slattery, from
the Australian Institute said water reforms, including the
Water Market and the Murray-Darling Basin Plan (MDBP) have
made things worse. She said that the Murray Darling Basin
Plan was a "train-wreck."

"I think that governments have exacerbated this drought."
Ms Slattery said.

She was responding to a video question from Victorian
dairy farmer Natalie Akers from Tallygaroopna who said the
Murray Darling Basin Plan had created a "man-made drought"
leading to the loss of thousands of jobs in Northern
Victoria, an area responsible for the production of 80% of
milk in the basin.

"The dairy industry is on its knees and its got very little
time left,"Slattery said going on to provide evidence
of government mismanagement.

"We've had increased extractions in the northern basin
with the increase of flood-plain harvesting,"she said.

" We've got changes to the Barwon-Darling water-sharing
plan which takes all of the water in the river at low-flows."

"The government drained Menindee Lakes in 2016-2017 and
has never been able to give an explanation as to why they
drained the lakes when there was flooding in South
Australia."

"We've got the construction of big new dams in the
Murrumbidgee which are designed to capture flows that
naturally would come out of the Murrumbidgee and
underwrite the reliability of water licences in the Murray."

"And last year we saw the flooding of the Barmah-Millewa
forest for operational reasons to push water down for
almonds at the end of the system that otherwise could have
been used to grow fodder for dairy and cows."

There's more at the following link:

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-19-29/government-water-policies-making-drought-worse-says-researcher/11647884
Posted by Foxy, Wednesday, 6 November 2019 10:57:04 AM
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Dear Bazz,

There was so much more on that same Q and A program
that evening. It was worth watching as it focused
on so many different perspectives of the drought.

The most outstanding was the 21 year old grazier,
Kate McBride, from
the NSW town of Menindee who called for a Royal
Commission into the handling of the Murray Darling
Basin. (remember the dead fish?).

There's more here:

http://www.news.com.au/technology/environment/on-fire-fierce-21yearold-grazier-kate-mcbride-confronts-drought-minister/news-story/72ac80077edc51f76314e13ad1daff26
Posted by Foxy, Wednesday, 6 November 2019 11:07:40 AM
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Regarding the thread title, AUI it's more a north-south thing than east-west. Many (though by no means all) southern dairy farmers are thriving, while in Queensland the industry's been hit a lot harder.
It seems a lot of people blame dollar milk; I think that's unfair. Consumers shouldn't have to pay more just because some of our farmers are struggling. If they want consumers to pay more for milk, they should produce a better product. I'd quite happily pay $2 for a litre of pascalised, high omega 3 milk from A2 cows, but I've yet to see such milk on sale, and I bet they'll try to charge much more than $2/l when it eventually becomes available.
Posted by Aidan, Wednesday, 6 November 2019 5:29:32 PM
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Do we really need milk?

Humans seem to be the only animals that drink it after they are weaned (excepting animals that are given it by humans).
Posted by Is Mise, Wednesday, 6 November 2019 7:14:10 PM
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It'll be alright. Stop worrying. Plus the farmers can always sell their properties to the Chinese and get out of the game. There are plenty of Chinese wanting to come to Australia and take over things like farms.
Posted by Mr Opinion, Wednesday, 6 November 2019 7:25:27 PM
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Some will not be aware meat exports from this country started with the by product of the dairy industry
The black baldy calves went to America as hamburger
Right now the very best land NSW has in dairying is drought stricken and looking bad
I will pay higher prices forever to help but some of us never care for who made it just price
We need politicians to understand our exports are increasingly going to be food related and get behind dairying
Posted by Belly, Thursday, 7 November 2019 5:42:12 AM
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Why not just sell all the farms to the Chinese? They have just as much right to own them as anyone else.
Posted by Mr Opinion, Thursday, 7 November 2019 6:34:41 AM
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Of course dairying is finished, anywhere that doesn't receive enough rainfall & requires irrigation, because we won't pay enough for our milk.

A school mate, was a dairy farmers kid. They had a 400 acre farm, with about 200 cows, milking 70 on average. Three related families ran it, one the farm, one did the milking & the third delivered the milk to your billy can, back in the days of fresh unadulterated milk delivered to your door, with no plastic bottles.

The operation employed 12 family members & another 6 or so workers. Most of the kids went through uni, when it was expensive.

I have a dairy farmer mate today. He is well over 80, still working 7 days a week, to help his son, who is now the farmer. They have 450 acres of good river flat country heavily irrigated, [fortunately from an unregulated river so the water is affordable, regulated irrigation water is too expensive for dairy returns], supporting 300 cows, milking 140. There is just the 2 of them, & the sons wife who does the clean up after milking, after the kids are off to school, while the men run the farm.

There are no staff, they can't afford any. The son works about 100 hours a week, my mate about 70. I can't imagine why the hell they do it, not counting the wife's labour, the income is about $16 an hour. I guess 3 generations of farming the same land is a strong attraction. They are the last in a district that had 20 dairies 60 years ago.

We won't pay enough for our food to make it worth growing. We had an orchard at Young when I was at school. Today I can buy peaches at Coles for less than we were paid for ours back in the 50s. Sure they are not quite the choice fruit we grew, but still pretty good. Just how much longer people are going to be silly enough to work their butts off producing our food for lousy returns is a serious question?
Posted by Hasbeen, Thursday, 7 November 2019 9:42:55 AM
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In some parts of the world dairy cattle live in sheds the food is bought to them
Here, every drought, we see food brought to our herds, doubt the average farmer is 80
In fact know plenty and they range from mid 30,s to mid 60,s
Retailers are in the end, cutting their own supply trail to pieces
We do not seem to care enough to stop it
A retailer opening up selling higher grade higher cost dairy products may do well
Posted by Belly, Thursday, 7 November 2019 12:19:31 PM
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Some may not be aware that beef exports from this country began in
"... In 1879, the first successful frozen meat exports were achieved when 40 tons of frozen beef and mutton was shipped from Sydney to the UK aboard the Strathleven, arriving in good condition. Subsequently, the Dunedin, was fitted with a refrigeration plant and began carrying frozen cargo from New Zealand to England."
and not one US hamburger in sight; it seems that the hamburger was not invented until 1900 at Louis' Lunch.

The first beef cattle to come to Australia arrived in Port Jackson on the First Fleet in 1788 and they were also the first dairy cattle.
http://www.dairy.com.au/our-industry-and-people/our-history
http://australianfoodtimeline.com.au/frozen-meat-exports
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louis%27_Lunch
Posted by Is Mise, Thursday, 7 November 2019 1:51:41 PM
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Ise Mise yes know too about cow pastures and those lost cattle
However hamburger trade started on the NSW coast dairy farms
No help to the subject however
During the 1960,s until the 1970,s for sure National party saw farmers got help in hard times
In Queensland even work on councils until things picked up
In our countrys interests to be doing much more of that right now
And sending water inland, as part of a one hundred year plan to improve our inland should have started yesterday
Posted by Belly, Thursday, 7 November 2019 3:31:44 PM
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If the farmers can't make a go of it anymore then ScuMo should take the land away from them and give it to the Chinese gas fracking companies.
Posted by Mr Opinion, Friday, 8 November 2019 5:27:48 AM
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Talking of Gas Mr Opinion
Fact farmers once carried this country on their back [WOOL] and food production will do the same if we fix this problem
Chinese own a lot of our dairy production and processing right now
Much of NZ,s too
Future planning starts now, fixed price for milk , send storm water inland, recycle sewage, and pump rivers inland
The Jews turned desert in to growing land we must too
Posted by Belly, Friday, 8 November 2019 10:49:51 AM
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How is this for stupidity ?
Sth Aus is running a desalination plant while fresh water is running out to sea !
Gawd, it would be hard to find anything more stupid !
Not just pouring water into sea but pouring money into the sea.
Politicians should all be suspended placed in custody and sent for a sanity examination.
The GG could appoint a group of water and electrical engineers as a
government to sort out the problems.
Posted by Bazz, Friday, 8 November 2019 5:49:40 PM
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Bazz maybe it, or some of it, must run in to the sea, my view we should pump water inland is not without some reservations
We must take the environment and the health of the rivers in to account
Taking it all would only turn one crisis in to another
WW2 USA USED desale to give its troops water
Costs? the rewards may be greater than costs and we need desale in our countrys future
Posted by Belly, Saturday, 9 November 2019 5:50:48 AM
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A turn up for the books. SA has done a deal with Canberra to use our desalination plant to help the drought-stricken areas in other parts of Australia.

Before you think about coolies trotting East with two buckets of water on a stick, the desalinated water will be pumped into our reservoirs, and we will leave 40 gigalitres in the Murray for use upstream.

I hope the Easterners won't be too embarrassed to accept help from the state that they love to rubbish.
Posted by ttbn, Saturday, 9 November 2019 1:08:07 PM
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Back on subject know a bit about SA,s desale plant, knew the chief engineer before he went over to build it, good bloke
We like Israel will use it very often shame is they are privately owned wish scomo would build one in the north as part of water distribution inland scheme
Posted by Belly, Saturday, 9 November 2019 3:19:24 PM
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But ttbn, they are making desal and paying to make it while at the same
time more fresh water is running into the sea !
They are not helping the eastern states, the river is overflowing.
They are just wasting money ! Aaaarrrggghhhh !!
Posted by Bazz, Saturday, 9 November 2019 5:15:55 PM
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Hi Bazz,

I'm not sure about fresh water running out into the sea - if you mean the Murray, flowing into the lower Lakes, they are more or less just that, enclosed lakes, with the barrage holding back the sea, and topped up by the Murray.

I'm blowed if I can understand why the desal plant wasn't turned on years ago, that this was its major purpose - to produce water for Adelaide and leave the Murray alone for the farmers here in SA and further upstream.

Ah, it's great to be ignorant, and not understand the complexities of engineering or government policy. i.e. me.

Joe
Posted by Loudmouth, Saturday, 9 November 2019 5:45:00 PM
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This is from the government website on the river:

The Murray Mouth

The Murray Mouth is the only site where salt, silt, nutrients and other contaminants can be flushed from the entire Murray-Darling Basin out to sea. The barrages are used to coordinate releases of water to flush pollutants from the system and prevent sea water from entering the freshwater Lower Lakes during times of low river flows.

During dry times, if enough water does not flow out of the Murray Mouth to prevent silt building up, dredging may be needed to keep the mouth open and the river system connected to the ocean.
Posted by ttbn, Saturday, 9 November 2019 6:12:42 PM
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The Murray, lower Lakes are simply a terribly wasteful way of distributing the Murray/Darling water to the irrigaters of that area of South Australia. It saves a lot of money that would be otherwise required to distribute much less eastern water to these farmers to do the same job, while evaporating uselessly much water that could be better used in it's states of origin.

The whole area was naturally a salt water estuary, & should be returned to it's natural state.

It is a disgrace that the commonwealth government don't force SA to do the right thing, rather than let SA continue to be a parasite on half of the country.

TTBN 40 gig is a flea bite compared to the 2000 gig evaporated annually from the dam the lakes actually are.
Posted by Hasbeen, Saturday, 9 November 2019 9:49:40 PM
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Hasbeen,

The Commonwealth government shouldn't be involved. Many people believe that the lack of water comes from their meddling; many others think the whole Murray River deal should be torn up. It's a horrible mess, and nobody has the common sense to fix it.
Posted by ttbn, Saturday, 9 November 2019 10:29:50 PM
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Hasbeen not sure the intent is to pump into the Murray River
But know some water has been set aside to help those upstream
Stand to be corrected but never saw any pump desale plan
Posted by Belly, Sunday, 10 November 2019 5:04:37 AM
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It's a sad image you all paint. Why don't you also admit that Australia has become a shithole for the dumping of China's population overflow, brought to you by politicians, bureaucrats and business people who are only interested in getting their hands on the money these Chinese are bringing into the country.

Take a walk around Sydney and the first thing one asks is 'Where are all the Australians?'
Posted by Mr Opinion, Sunday, 10 November 2019 7:01:50 AM
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"The Commonwealth shall not, by any law or regulation of trade or commerce, abridge the right of a State or of the residents therein to the reasonable use of the waters of rivers for conservation or irrigation." Section 100, Australian Constitution.
Posted by ttbn, Sunday, 10 November 2019 7:34:14 AM
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I don't know what - if anything - goes on in the heads of our hick politicians, but they seem to be totally unaware that they are are not dealing with a country (China) but with the Chinese Communist Party. And, the CCP is running rings around them.
Posted by ttbn, Sunday, 10 November 2019 7:42:10 AM
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Bazz we tried your thread needed our attention but few wanted to confront it
regards
Posted by Belly, Sunday, 10 November 2019 11:02:23 AM
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Yes Belly, it drifted away from the point.
It would not be easy to tell dairymen that they should go elsewhere
or do cropping instead.
I just can't see an alternative. They will never get a high enough
price at the gate to survive a five or seven year drought.
The government can not subsidise the dairy industry every time a
drought comes. At some point the government will have to say enough
is enough, move to an area with less drought incidence.
I can remember previous drought relief campaigns and it is always the
same story, "save the farmers" !
I would favour finance them to move and take their cattle with them.
Hey, you could even get the greenies to agree, just call it a global
warming program !
Posted by Bazz, Sunday, 10 November 2019 12:04:20 PM
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Bazz worth noting I have zero time for the greens
Yes sad but true the battle will not be won, not without us paying in any case
Some of our dairy country, southern NSW and Victoria is the best in the world
Expat Chinese near stealing milk [tined] from shelves to send home for profit, proves we have markets but some will not survive
Right now very good dairy cattle are being turned in to export hamburger because the farmer is broke or has no feed
Here? we are yet to see [but know] just how bad these fires have damaged so very much land and it will be horrific by the end of summer
Posted by Belly, Sunday, 10 November 2019 3:21:03 PM
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Dear ttbn,

They're too greedy to get their hands on the money Chinese immigrants bring into the country. It's Chinese money that has been keeping the Australian economy robust for the past 30 years. Come to Sydney and have a look at the future.
Posted by Mr Opinion, Sunday, 10 November 2019 4:03:17 PM
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