Courier Mail, The (Brisbane), 31/05/2007, pg. 18

DAIRY farmers have sold off thousands of milking cows direct to meatworks in the past year because they cannot afford fodder for their cows.

At least 30 complete dairy herds on the Darling Downs have been sold in the past year compared with two or three a year in normal conditions.

Elders dairy stock auctioneer Darren Hartwig said farmers were getting 35 to 40 a litre for their milk but it was costing 50 a litre to produce because of the high cost of fodder.

“A lot of farmers are selling the cows direct to meatworks. They just can’t take it any longer,” Mr Hartwig said.

“Grain prices and feed prices are astronomical. Grain was $250 a tonne but now it is $450 a tonne.

“The price they are getting for their milk has stayed the same. No one can sustain that for very long.

“A few farmers have a bit of feed put away but eventually that is going to run out and the way the drought is going where are they going to get it from?”

Mr Hartwig said dairy farmers needed to receive at least 50 a litre to survive.

He said that farmers still in the industry were struggling, but holding on, and were hoping that prices would get better as more farmers left the industry.

Copyright 2007 / Courier Mail