Dairy plea: help wanted

24 Mar, 2006 10:45 PM

THE trend towards larger dairy herds post-deregulation has presented the dairy industry with another dilemma – owners are grappling with an acute labour shortage.

A survey by Dairy Australia found in the past five years the average number of labour units per dairy farm in Australia had dropped from 3.1 to 2.6.

Owners of enterprises that have been expanded in a push for more milk to cushion the effects of rising input costs, have resorted to advertising as far away as New Zealand for extra hands, with one NSW industry consultant confirming he has clients who could immediately place 10 to 20 workers.

With a worldwide milk shortage and farmgate milk prices 10 per cent better than they were a year ago, there are calls within the ranks of Australia’s 10,000 milk producers for a campaign to entice more young people to choose it as a career path.

It will mean reversing perceived negativity about a job on a dairy farm milking cows twice a day and overcoming the challenge of securing staff in a competitive labour market.

Neil Moss, Cattle Production Consultants, Camden, said contrary to traditional views about milking cows for a living, these days excellent salary packages were up for grabs, like six-figure packages to manage big herds.

“There’s not a strong awareness out there in the community about short-term casual opportunities as well as long-term career prospects in dairying,” Mr Moss said.

“The message is not getting through at the educational level.”

South Coast dairy farmers, Michael and Lynne Strong, Jamberoo, have enticed their son, Nicholas, back to the family farm on the strength of a brighter future, however, they still need more labour and are among those looking across the Tasman for it.


light grey arrow
ItzMe, I have no agenda except to urge you to get your information from the science, not from
light grey arrow
Would they know a farmer, let alone think to ask them their views? It's all about their agenda,
light grey arrow
So the taxation without representation continues. The vested interests win again.