Dairy farmer pleads for community to buy branded milk
A FLOOD-HIT dairy farmer is pleading with Bundaberg consumers to buy branded milk, saying the industry is at an all-time low and dangerously close to the "point of no return".
Baffle Creek Dairy Fresh owner Bruce Poulsen said the Tablelands Rd property was still feeling the effects of January flooding more than three months on.
"We're clawing our way back; we're not so much bouncing," he said.
Mr Poulsen, who has been in the dairy industry for more than 20 years, said he lost several cattle and more than 10,000 litres of milk during the destructive weather events.
"We had a depot near the foundry in North Bundaberg - we lost 7000 litres of milk there alone," he said.
"The last few weeks we have run out of decent feed.
"The ground was under water a heck of a long time."
Mr Poulsen said milk production had also dropped dramatically.
"All that sort of weather knocks cows around big time," he said.
"There were a lot of times we couldn't get the product out to customers as well."
He said that the focus now was getting winter feed for cattle into the ground.
"We've had to buy in an enormous amount of purchased feed," he said.
"It's quite costly - a lot of the hay got wiped out all around Queensland."
Mr Poulsen said the floods had worsened the already embattled dairy industry, and that he knew of seven farms that had been selling their cows in the past six weeks.
"I don't think people realise just how desperate the situation has gotten - it's almost at the point of no return," he said.
Competing with supermarket giants and their generic-branded milk was "bringing the dairy industry to its knees", Mr Poulsen said.
He said he spoke to a successful 25-year-old dairy farmer this week, who was doing his budgets and working out ways to minimiselosses because he knew he would not make a profit this year.
"We can't have those sorts of young people crunching those numbers," Mr Poulsen said. "Consumers need to buy branded milk if they want to keep the industry alive."