Why are the Aussies getting more for their milk?
We Kiwi dairy farmers have a fair bit in common with our Aussie counterparts. Sure, they may have those drawling accents that can't quite decide where they want to be, and they might get a fair whack more sunshine than us (bonus: we get more rain) but, all-in-all, there's not much difference.
Fair enough, we might be cut from the same farming cloth, but there's one contrast that we can't be too happy about: The amount of dollars they can command for a kilo of milk solids.
Whereas those boys across the Tasman enjoy heaps of cash for kilo of the white stuff NZ$6.09, the Kiwi diary farmer will get just $4.70 per kilo of milk solid offered by Fonterra. To rub salt in our wounds, a farming company based out in Victoria, Australian Dairy Farms, is claiming that it'll soon be able to command between AU$6.10 and AU$6.30 per kilo – 30 per cent more than what the intrepid NZ farmer gets.
This is despite Australian Dairy Farms also supplying Fonterra, so what exactly is going on over there? Are we Kiwi dairy farmers getting a bum deal?
Well, a statement by the Aussie company reckons that the high milk price is down to the fact that the nation has a much larger domestic dairy market, which means its shielded from the terrible international one – unlike the Kiwi milk market.
What's more, Australian Dairy Farms, which has two sites in Victoria, says that the higher prices are in line with a 'volume production bonus.'
Farmers in Aotearoa can take a little solace in the fact that Australian processor Murray Goulburn's best ever offered price for a kilo of milk was AU$6.81 – way behind New Zealand's record of NZ$8.40, paid out by Fonterra.
In any case, Kiwi dairy farmers have it better when it comes to getting kitted out – nothing can compare to Line 7's range of dairy farming gear.