The head of Jersey Australia has welcomed what he says is a bold initiative by Gippsland processor Burra Foods to give greater recognition to the fat content of milk it receives.
Burra chief executive Grant Crothers announced last week that the company was offering all farmers the opportunity to be paid on a 1:1 fat-to-protein ratio.
Jersey Australia president Chris MacKenzie, Timboon, complimented Burra on its decision.
“That was a major thing we were looking at, because of the way world prices have been for some time,” Mr MacKenzie said.
“I think the other processors will certainly watch it with interest.
“It’s a bold stance [Mr Crothers] has taken.”
Mr Crothers said it was a very important initiative that reflected the market value of milk components.
“We expect those milking Jersey or crossbred herds to be able to grasp the opportunity with both hands, but we also are signalling to others to start feeding for fat,” Mr Crothers said.
The announcement came with details of Burra Foods’ opening milk price range for the coming season of $5.60-$5.90 a kilogram milk solids, an eight per cent increase over last year’s opening price.
Paul Mumford, Wron Wron, Gippsland, who has a Jersey herd of 600 cattle, over two properties, said the move would be welcomed.
“It’s giving farmers a clear indication on where to breed and it allows them to take advantage of a good milk price structure, coming into the next season,” Mr Mumford said.
“It’s a very competitive milk market at the moment and I think all processors are coming up with strategies to secure their supply and potentially look for new milk.”
Earlier this year, Jersey Australia board member Jane Sykes said current pricing systems didn’t necessarily represent the true market value of milk components.
“We want price parity between butterfat and protein,” Ms Sykes said.
Mr Crothers said the decision reflected the strong returns for fat products.
The company wished to both reward and offer incentives to farmers.
Suppliers would have the option of selecting either a 1:2 fat-to-protein ratio or 1:1 fat-to-protein ratio at the start of the season.
Mr Crothers acknowledged altering components was not quick, or simple.
“We recognised many supply partners have geared themselves towards protein production, which is why we are providing the option,” he said.