NSW Farmers' Association is calling for an end to cheap milk at the major supermarkets.
NSW Farmers' Association is calling for an end to cheap milk at the major supermarkets. DAN PELED

$1 per litre milk driving dairy industry to breaking point

DAIRY farmers say cheap milk prices need to end to create a sustainable dairy industry.

NSW Farmers' Association is calling for the big supermarkets to end dollar-a-litre milk once and for all and focus on long term solutions to build a sustainable NSW dairy industry.

The association said Coles and Woolworths both announced drought levies on some dollar-a-litre milk products last year to help dairy farmers battling drought. This year Woolworths extended their program, while Coles has ceased theirs.

NSW Farmers' Dairy Committee Chair Erika Chesworth said "enough is enough".

"Farmers are upset their fresh milk is being devalued and our businesses viability is being traded off for a marketing stunt.

"We are angry that the discounting of dairy products has stripped the dairy industry of fair prices and long term sustainability. Australia has one of the most concentrated retail markets in the world. We need retailers to work with farmers to add value to our products and end dollar-a-litre milk.

"While the drought levies have provided some farmers with a little financial relief to continue on the farm in the short term, it will not be enough in the long run.

"The NSW Farmers Dairy Committee genuinely wants to work with retailers, to implement long term solutions to ensure the NSW industry is sustainable and farmers get a fair return for their hard work," Ms Chesworth said.

The association said the NSW Upper House inquiry found $1 per litre milk is driving the NSW dairy industry to breaking point.

"There is a need for the retailers to show leadership and to remove dollar-a-litre milk. It unreasonably suppresses the true value of milk and also on the value within the dairy supply chain.

"Short term ventures such as these dairy levies are not real solutions. Dairy farmers must be paid a fair price, that recognises the value of our fresh milk and it must not be used as a loss leader," Ms Chesworth said.