Milk processors were forced to transport milk from the eastern States last summer as West Australian dairy farmers failed to keep up with increased demand.
A study from international agribusiness bank Rabobank has shown that in the first quarter of the year the demand for milk outstripped the State-produced supply.
The Rabobank data showed a rise in milk consumption at the same time as a severe drop in the production of milk between January and April.
The drop coincided with the drier summer months when it was more expensive for farmers to feed dairy cattle and produce milk.
Dairy Council president and Dardanup dairy farmer Phil Depiazzi said it was not the first time milk had been trucked into WA from across the country.
“The cost of production in summer is high, and there’s not enough premium in the price to reflect that, ” Mr Depiazzi said.
He said milk was transported across the country in insulated, but not refrigerated trucks.
“They have trucked it over for the past few summers, ” Mr Depiazzi said.
“It’s crazy when we’ve got the ability to produce the milk here.”
Dairy farmers at last week’s WA Farmers Federation annual diary conference called for the price paid for milk at the farm gate to rise in order to shore up the State’s supply.
A higher price is paid during summer to reflect increased production costs, however, that price does not accurately reflect the cost of the six months the animals are not grass fed.
In June, Parmalat Australia announced a 30 cent a litre bonus for farmers producing more milk than in 2014, however, Mr Depiazzi said most farmers were already producing at or near capacity, so a bonus would have little effect on them.
Eastern States farmers who supply the domestic market are paid 54-59 cents a litre and WA farmers, paid between 48-50 cents a litre, are calling for similar rates.
“There has to be a cost to trucking it across the country,” Mr Depiazzi said.
“All that is required is a better price at the farm gate here to steady the supply.”
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