Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Issues raised at UDV meeting

Milk collection, wage levels and banking practices were discussed at a recent regional UDV meeting.

June 25, 2013 4:09am

UDV president Kerry Callow addresses the Numurkah meeting.

Milk collection rationalisation, restrictive wage conditions and bank practices were discussed at a recent dinner meeting for UDV District Council No 3 members at Numurkah last week.

The council organised a free dinner for members at the Shamrock Hotel, with guest speakers UDV president Kerry Callow and Dairy Australia farm productivity manager Chris Murphy.

Ms Callow told the 40 people at the night, that UDV was working on milk pick-up rationalisation to save costs for suppliers; visa issues for farmers from overseas now living in Australia who are not eligible for government support; and reports that some banks were increasing margins on top of interest rates when reviewing farmer equity.

The UDV believes this is illegal.

Ms Callow said UDV was also examining federal law requiring farmers to pay staff for a minimum of three hours even if they only work for one.

UDV is arguing that milking cows is an essential service, just like feeding stock, which does not attract this penalty.

Mr Murphy, who grew up on a Numurkah dairy farm, talked about the latest findings for the Murray Dairy region in the Situation and Outlook report.

He spoke about the importance home-grown feed plays in farm profitability under various scenarios including high and low milk price years, and the use of other feed supplements.

He referred to a research report by Dr Jonathan Hauser and Neil Lane on supply trends and drivers of farm profit.

One of the findings showed that farms with less than 40 per cent grazed pasture in the diet have a high risk exposure to milk price and feed price.

It is more difficult to show a definite trend in risk or economic performance for farms with greater than 40 per cent grazed pasture.

As farms increase pasture consumption, climate risk becomes more significant.

Pasture-based farmers do, however, have many options to mitigate this risk, including: varying feed purchases; the use of fodder reserves; and an appropriate stocking rate, the report found.

The District Council is planning to hold about four meetings like this a year to encourage members to remain informed on the work of the UDV and catch up with neighbours in a social setting with a meal.

Council secretary and dinner organiser Natalie Akers said it was a great success.

‘‘Not only was it a good opportunity to learn something new, but also to catch up with fellow members and even win a few door prizes,’’ she said.

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