Dairy in South West Victoria
Western Victoria is an important dairying region.
- Western Victoria is one of the largest milk producing regions in the national industry, processing milk sourced from outside the region, using its extensive manufacturing infrastructure.
- Farmgate prices are driven by export returns. Prices have been affected by the volatility in international dairy commodity prices and sustained competition for milk.
The Regional Dairy Industry Statistics:
• We produce about 2.1 billion litres of milk a year from about 1500 farms and 440,000 cows (4 cows for every person in the region)
• Every day we produce enough milk to fill a line of 1 litre milk cartons side by side from Melbourne to the SA border (400kms)
• In 2008 the value of the dairy industry to the region was about $4.6 billion (($1Bn at the farm gate, $1Bn more ($2Bn) at the factory gate and $2.6Bn from the service provider sector)
• Dairy delivers a third of the economic activity in the Great South Coast region
• One hectare of dairy delivers $4400 of output/annum, beef $1600 and blue gums $520
• If you wanted to add $1Bn to the regional economy you could treble tourism or increase dairy by 25%
• 15% of the Victorian workforce is associated with the food industry
• At the 2006 census 5991 people directly worked in dairying in this part of Victoria
• For every retail job in the region there’s an equivalent job on-farm
• The agricultural output of Western Victoria (Colac Otway, Corangamite, Moyne and Glenelg) is bigger than Tasmania
• Dairy is the biggest export out of the Port of Melbourne
• 9% of Victoria's milk is in the liquid market
• Australian women are knowingly missing out on calcium for fear of racking up extra kilojoules. A recent survey revealed that one in five women believe that calcium-rich foods are often high in kilojoules. The survey also uncovered that 42% of Australians believe they get enough calcium, when 90% of the population is not getting its daily calcium needs.
Latest Statistics for Western Victoria (DA’s 2011 National Dairy Farmer Survey)
• An average farm (183 hectares produces about 1.4 million litres of milk from 300 cows every year (up from 286 in 2010)
• Over the past year, on farm capital investment has been made by 64% of dairy farmers in the region – a slightly larger proportion than the 2010 survey (58%). Investment areas have been varied, but mainly include machinery (23% of all respondents mentioning), fencing (21%) and tracks and laneways (21%).
• During the coming 12 months, 52% of respondents expect to make capital purchases for the farm, mainly on tracks and laneways (25%).
• In western Victoria, 96% of dairy cows are fed grain, grain mixes or concentrates at an average rate of 1.51 tonnes per cow per year. (up from 1.35 t in 2010)
• Average per cow production remained steady over the past 12 months, at 6,036 litres.
• Just under half (42%) of the region’s dairy farmers anticipate having higher herd production by 2013- 14 than the past year, compared with 2% expecting lower production levels. A further 3% believe they will no longer be in the industry by this time.
• Over the past year, 19% of herds did not graze pasture for an average period of 2 to 3 months.
• Calving patterns in the region consisted of:
a. Split and/or batch calving (29%)
b. Seasonal calving (63%)
c. All year round (8%)
• 3% of all heifers on hand in the region were sold this year, 2% for export and 1% domestically
• Throughout the region, 16% of dairy cows were sold or culled in the past year. Choppers accounted for 15%, milkers for 1%
• Compared to 12 months ago, a slightly higher proportion of western Victoria dairy farmers are confident in the future of the national industry (74% compared to 70%)
• For farmers in the region, milk price is expected to be the main challenge for their enterprise in future, nominated by 53% which is up from 44% in 2010
• While 29% of respondents expect to milk more cows over the next year, a further 29% believe their herd size will decrease. The average milking herd size is predicted to be around 0.5% higher than this year
• Hay and silage was purchased by 57% of farmers last year. Among those purchasing, 65% bought from a farmer without an agent involved
• Currently, 37% of dairy farms are run by the owner and a partner or by an owner operator only. Farms employing paid staff comprise 54% of all farms
Source: Dairy Australia