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Market 'not fair' for Qld dairy farmers, Cochrane says

FRESH MILK: John Cochrane believes Queensland consumers want to buy local product.
FRESH MILK: John Cochrane believes Queensland consumers want to buy local product. Renee Albrecht

RECENT attacks on Queensland dairy farmers by Parmalat are "extremely disappointing", according to Gympie Dairy farmer John Cochrane.

In a submission by Parmalat to a Queensland parliamentary committee reviewing a private member's bill on a fair milk price logo, they claimed Queensland was not producing milk at a competitive price.

Mr Cochrane, chairman of collective bargaining group Premium Milk, said he was disappointed with the claims as Queensland dairy farmers faced their own unique challenges.

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"We've lost over 70 per cent of our suppliers since 2000...that means that we'll be getting product from Victoria more and more."

This, he said, was not what Queensland consumers wanted.

"We can't change the fact Queenslanders want to buy a fresh Queensland product."

The changing nature of consumers was only part of the problem. Queensland's weather conditions could also be a challenge.

He said the same amount of milk was needed to be produced every day, and if cows were affected by heat and humidity then costs were also impacted.

"If the cow is not producing that amount of milk, then you need more of them."

While Mr Cochrane did not support calls to boycott Parmalat, he said the current market was "not fair".

He was disappointed by Parmalat's submission, as they had worked well together for more than a decade.

"It's extremely disappointing.

"All people in business should be interested in the profit they're making but not at the expense and detriment of other people."

Topics:  dairy farmers dairy industry farmers gympie rural

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