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Dairy Cows Sent to Slaughter as Processors 'Fail' to Pay Enough for Milk

10 February 2020

AUSTRALIA - Western Australia is facing an exodus of dairy farmers less than a year after the widely-celebrated end of $1-a-litre milk.

Farmers say rising production costs and "unsustainable" farmgate prices are forcing more of them to sell their cows to butchers and exporters.

The ABC has spoken to industry analysts and stock agents who say a dozen herds of dairy cows are awaiting sale in Western Australia, which could represent up to 10 per cent of the state's herd.

The ABC has also spoken directly to half a dozen farmers who say they want to leave the industry.

David Payne has decided to stop milking after 25 years at Scott River in the dairy heartland of WA's South West, saying he had few options but to send a portion of his herd to the abattoir.

"I don't want to be on the farm so my father and another mate of mine can load them on the truck, because I don't want to see them go," he said.

"It's obviously very upsetting, but there comes a time when you feel like you're banging your head against a wall and have to move on to greener grasses."

Mr Payne is not alone as the industry's long-running issues come to a head, with many farmers seeing little hope in sight after the abolition of $1-a-litre milk failed to make a difference.

One major processor has lifted the price of its milk for its customers, but suppliers say none of it is reaching the farmgate.

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Source: ABC Online

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