The deadline for the report by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission into the dairy industry has been extended to April 30 next year.
The Treasurer, Scott Morrison, granted the extension to enable to ACCC to consult with the industry on an interim report to be released in late November.
This report will contain interim findings and recommendations based on the ACCC's analysis of issues such as competition between milk processors, contracts between processors and farmers and the impact of domestic retail prices on the industry.
The ACCC inquiry began in October last year and has included a series of public farmer forums.
It was initially due to deliver its final report by November 1.
The competition watchdog was directed to examine the dairy market by the federal government after farmgate milk solids prices in southern Australia collapsed from $6 a kilogram to $5.60/kg then down to about $4.70 in autumn 2016 when Murray Goulburn and Fonterra cut their payment intentions in response to continuing poor global prices.
ACCC chairman Rod Sims said this inquiry would closely examine the key competition and fair trading issues affecting the dairy industry.
“Our aim is to present a really clear picture of the issues facing the market today, and make any recommendations to ensure it remains fair and competitive,” he said.
Key issues being considered by the commission include competition for milk between dairy processors; milk contracting practices; the availability of price and other market information; the effect on the dairy industry of private label dairy products in domestic supermarkets, and options for milk supplies into global markets.
It will also take a close look at key factors influencing the profitability of dairy farms.