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WA’s Biggest Dairy Farm Set to End Milk Production

14 May 2019

AUSTRALIA - Milk production is likely to cease on WA’s biggest dairy farm and the land put to other uses, according to owner Ross Woodhouse.

Mr Woodhouse, who put his Scott River farm on the market earlier this year, said the sale wasn’t yet settled, but frontrunners for a purchase included a blue gum tree operator.

There were also several neighbours interested in buying separate properties under his operation, mainly for avocado trees and beef production, with just 20 percent retained for dairy production.

Mr Woodhouse, who produces 20 million litres a year, or 6 percent of WA’s production, is selling 4000 hectares over 13 properties, including a $1.3 million milking shed.

A price rise following Woolworths’ axing of $1 a litre milk in February, equivalent to an extra 2.5¢ a litre across his full production, had been a big help. But Mr Woodhouse said he was still struggling to break even because of low farm gate prices and a string of dry seasons meaning big feed bills.

"Although the land itself is in demand, milk production is not considered an attractive option to buyers, demonstrating how tough things are across the industry," he said.

"While it would mean some farmers can increase production, more and more, good farmers will exit the industry, and fresh milk could soon become a niche product."

From July 2018 to March, WA milk production is down 2.6 percent from a year earlier, according to Dairy Australia.

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Source: The West Australian

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