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Dairy Expert Says Australian Industry at 'Tipping Point'

22 April 2019

AUSTRALIA - Australia is home to some of the best dairy operations in the world, but an analyst has warned that without a drastic increase in production the country could soon become an "import nation".

Since its peak production of 11.27 billion litres of milk a year in 2002, Australia's total milk production has shrunk to 8.7 billion litres.

At the same time, an increasing population has driven demand for dairy products.

However, amid tight margins and competition from cheaper, imported dairy products, farmers and some processors are struggling to increase production and stay profitable.

Falling production, rising demand

WA-based dairy industry analyst Andrew Weinert said Australia's ratio of dairy production to supply "hung in the balance".

Australians consume about nine billion litres of milk a year, equal to production.

Mr Weinert said that showed the industry was in desperate need of production growth, to ensure it remained self-sufficient.

"As we get more mouths to feed, we're going to need more dairy products, and my observation is that we're not planning for that," Mr Weinert said.

"We're not utilising our land in the best way possible and if we let that occur we'll be totally at the mercy of world prices and supply."

Terry Richardson, president of the advocacy group Australian Dairy Farmers, shares Mr Weinert's concerns for the future of the domestic industry, and reliance on imported dairy.

"We are not far off from being a net importer of milk fat," Mr Richardson said.

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Source: ABC Online

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