Milk Choices: let’s explore this further


Milk Choices explores an open market for milk at the farm gate

A team of volunteers has just launched a novel idea: what if dairy farmers could sell our milk to more than one customer? It’s a radical concept in dairy circles but not for any other business.

The volunteers have called the concept “Milk Choices” and say the time is right for a fresh look at the way milk is traded at the farm gate. And why not?

When the Milk Choices group asked me to help explain the idea, I jumped at the chance. It’s always important to consider the alternatives and this one may well change things for the better.

Put simply, Milk Choices involves an open market for milk would help farmers and processors manage risk and increase their profitability.

It’s not a working model yet – just a concept – and the Milk Choices team wants all of us to have a say in how it develops.

I’d highly recommend learning more at the Milk Choices website and, if you can make it, hear Scott Briggs present the idea in person at the Australian Dairy Conference this week.

To get inspired, take a look at the quick little video below.



8 thoughts on “Milk Choices: let’s explore this further

  1. So what’s different about this than inter factory trades?
    Whilst ever processors dictate prices and risk of their business farmers will always be at the end of the food chain.
    Competition doesn t always drive prices up. Look at the competition to supply dollar milk drove prices down

    • You’re right, Nigel, that the factories are already swapping milk, though less so now that MG has ceased milk trades. The big difference is that Milk Choices offers farmers a way to manage some of their risk.

      The other big difference with the dollar milk scenario is that there were only a handful of processors supplying a couple of massive supermarkets with enormous bargaining power.

      • The supermarket issue remains similar with maybe the shrinking milk pool tipping the scales slightly against the processors and retailers.
        By splintering a supply arrangement at the farm gate could unfortunately have the opposite effect of lowering farm gate prices as processors lose reliability of supply. Another risk could be that if seasonal conditions for example impacts on production and supply targets are not achieved are farmers liable for the shortfall as with milk contracts of old?
        Certainly good to see the point of sale at the farm gate being looked at but needs to put the balance of power in the farmers hands not processors and retailers

        • The great thing about a market like this is that both farmers and factories will be able to lock in agreements that suit them in advance, so should actually create greater reliability of supply.
          As with anything in life, farmers would need to be careful not to overcommit, that’s for sure!

  2. This is a very complex solution to simple problem ( the milk pricing structure), this solution focuses only on the milk price alone and that’s not the main problem . We as farmers need to get back to a position that all farmers in the export focused industry and regions get paid the same price for our milk again .We have to stop the cross subsidization of the processors milk pool ,in the so called name of processing efficiency that dont exist. They operate in the value added commodity market ,not daily fresh . But this solution still leaves all the risks with the production cycle behind the farm gate with farmers and that’s not acceptable . This solution will not help with growing or stabilizing the Australian milk pool. Is this intended for the southern milk pool only or the whole of the Australian milk pool?

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