Dairy numbers up despite tough times

SA dairy numbers rise slightly


Dairy
REGISTERED FIGURES: The number of dairies in SA has decreased by about 27pc since 2008-09. In the same period, the number of cows has dropped from 106,000 to 75,000.

REGISTERED FIGURES: The number of dairies in SA has decreased by about 27pc since 2008-09. In the same period, the number of cows has dropped from 106,000 to 75,000.

Aa

DESPITE reports of dairyfarmers exiting the industry in recent months, the number of registered dairies in SA has increased slightly on 2017-18 figures.

Aa

DESPITE reports of dairyfarmers exiting the industry in recent months, the number of registered dairies in SA has increased slightly on 2017-18 figures.

SA's dairy food safety authority Dairy Safe has 233 dairy farms registered, including cattle, sheep and goats.

A spokesperson said this number had lifted slightly since the start of this year, with inquiries received from a few dairyfarmers about renovating and re-opening disused dairies.

There were 228 dairies registered in 2017-18.

SA Dairyfarmers' Association chief executive officer Andrew Curtis said the higher number could be because some of the people exiting had not had their dairy license lapse yet.

"There are about three or four businesses that have left in the past four months," he said. "There have also been a couple of new entrants with old dairies recommissioned."

Mr Curtis said while the state's milk production was up 3 per cent on last year - compared with a national drop of 4.8pc - there were still pressures from the drought and higher feed prices.

Despite this, he said SA was an "interesting market" when it came to selling milk.

"We've got more artisan processors, per capita, than anywhere else in the country," he said.

"If a dairyfarmer can produce good and consistent quantities of milk, there are a number of processors that would like to talk to them."

Mr Curtis said there were also some positive price signals generally for farmgate prices, although high feed prices had absorbed much of this.

He said there was support available through Dairy Australia's Taking Stock program or through DairySA wellbeing officer Rick Hinge.

In the past decade, since 2008-09, dairy numbers in SA have dropped from 320 to 233.

Fresh start for Hills farming operation

THIRD-generation dairyfarmer Michael Altmann is returning to the dairy industry with his wife Cass, following a 15-year gap.

COMING BACK: Cass and Michael Altmann, Balhannah, will re-enter the dairy industry later this year.

COMING BACK: Cass and Michael Altmann, Balhannah, will re-enter the dairy industry later this year.

For the past 1.5 decades, the Altmanns have been growing potatoes and beef cattle on their Balhannah property but from midway through this year, they will reintroduce a small herd of dairy cows to supply milk to Adelaide Hills cheesemaker Udder Delights.

Mr Altmann said he had always talked about returning to the industry, with this becoming a more serious plan in the past 18 months.

Speaking with some Adelaide Hills dairyfarmers, he heard there were good local markets available.

They have been in the process of getting their old herringbone dairy recommissioned and expect to start introducing cows back onto the property in about July.

Mr Altmann said he had already started conversations about sourcing cows.

They plan to run about 60 or 70 cows.

"I think that's a good number," he said.

Aa

From the front page

Sponsored by