LOCAL FRESH MILK: Biggenden dairyfarmer Robbie Radel delivers the first milk produced by local farmers to Biggenden Butchery's Tyler Hetherington.
LOCAL FRESH MILK: Biggenden dairyfarmer Robbie Radel delivers the first milk produced by local farmers to Biggenden Butchery's Tyler Hetherington. Erica Murree

Cheap milk a 'knife in the back' for dairy farmers

BURNETT dairy farmer Robbie Radel believes Woolworths raising the price of their milk won't fix the sustainability issues of the industry.

Woolworths announced on Monday that they would start charging consumers $1.10 per litre, with the extra 10c going directly to farmers.

Mr Radel, who this week sold his Biggenden dairy but still operates anopther one in the region, said while he wasn't unhappy to see Woolworths increase their prices, consumers were still being encouraged to buy the cheapest milk.

"It's unfortunate that people will now feel as though they are doing the best thing by buying the $1.10 per litre milk," he said.

"... that is not creating sustainability."

He said buying $1 per litre milk was short sighted. "It may save you money now, but when there's a fresh milk shortage in the near future, consumers will have the choice of UHT or powdered milk or be prepared to pay $8 per litre like they do in China for fresh white milk," Mr Radel said.

"$1 per litre milk was the ultimate knife in the back for dairy farmers across the country who had survived deregulation back in 2000 and were finally starting to get back on top of things, and many were expanding."

According to Mr Radel, the best way to support the dairy industry is to avoid the cheaper, supermarket brand milks, and rather buy from private label processors which are farmer owned and operated.

Mr Radel has moved back to his family farm in Coalstoun Lakes, and will concentrate on producing milk for the private label Central Queensland Dairy Fresh.

The milk can be bought at shops around the North Burnett.


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