Tuncester dairy farmer Paul Weir does not know what price he will be paid for his milk this financial year.
Tuncester dairy farmer Paul Weir does not know what price he will be paid for his milk this financial year. Jacklyn Wagner

Dairy farmers being milked

NORTH Coast dairy farmers face a bleak future and will be forced to dump milk to get their message across that the price being paid for their product is unsustainable.

That's the "desperate and frustrating" situation producers face according to Tuncester dairy farmer Paul Weir.

Mr Weir said dairy farmers were caught in the middle of a supermarket milk-price war, which had been compounded by a dispute between a key processor and its retail customer.

He said nine dairy farmers he knew had already gone to the wall and more would follow unless immediate action was taken.

Mr Weir sells his milk to the Dairy Farmers Milk Co-operative which on-sells the milk to retailer Lion.

Lion owns well known brands including Pura, Dairy Farmers, Moove, and Big M.

But Dairy Farmers Milk Co-operative and Lion are in dispute regarding the price Lion will pay this financial year.

Lion say they are negotiating to resolve the dispute, so would not comment on the matter.

But that leaves Mr Weir and others not knowing what price they will be paid this financial year despite being a month and a half into the year.

"Last financial year we averaged 49 cents a litre. If I produce the same volume as I did last financial year I will only be getting about 39 cents a litre, which is under the cost of production," Mr Weir said.

A Lion spokeswoman said the supermarket milk-price war has also impacted on its business.

Earlier this month Norco announced it was maintaining its base farm gate milk price despite downward pressure.


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