News

Dairy farmer gives up fight

Third generation dairy farmer Ray Gresham has called it quits after struggling with industry deregulation and more recently, the milk price wars between the two major supermarkets.
Third generation dairy farmer Ray Gresham has called it quits after struggling with industry deregulation and more recently, the milk price wars between the two major supermarkets. Craig Warhurst

ONE of the last and most prolific dairy farmers of our region, Ray Gresham, has called it quits following a lengthy battle to break even since the deregulation of the dairy industry more than a decade ago.

The drastic discounting by Coles and Woolworths was the final nail in the coffin for the fresh-milk producer, who had been struggling to meet rising operational costs against plummeting prices for his milk.

Half the herd was sold off yesterday as the third generation dairy farmer gave up the fight.

The Gresham dairy had been in a better position than most to survive the fallout from the dairy industry deregulation more than a decade ago. But despite increasing production to a point where the farm was producing more milk than ever to make up for falling prices, there was only so much a man could take.

"I just can't do it anymore," Mr Gresham, 40, said after loading 144 head of cattle on to trucks bound for a larger dairy farm operating under a more viable contract.

"It was bad enough last year, but it's getting worse.

"The latest round of pricing to come out is just ridiculous. There's no light at the end of the tunnel."

Mr Gresham said his exit from the dairy industry had reduced the number of dairy farms between Gympie and Kenilworth to nine from the original 155 farms.

THE Gresham's dairy farm is one of 40 across Queensland to fold since the supermarket milk price wars began more than 18 months ago.

As one of the state's youngest dairy farmers working a farm that had been in the family for three generations, Ray Gresham was considered a star performer by the Queensland Dairy Organisation (QDO).

QDO president Brian Tessmann said a long-time dairy farming family like the Gresham's should have had a secure future, but the dairy's demise was a classic example of how the industry had been crippled by the two major supermarket chains drastically reducing the value of milk.

"If these guys (the Gresham's) can't make a go of it in the position they were in, how can the remaining few?" he questioned.

"I think Coles should explain to dairy farmers' children why they won't have a farm in the future. Coles said its prices wouldn't impact on farmers, but the evidence is quite clear. The government needs to take heed of this and pay attention to the impact back at the farms.

"The domestic industry for milk in Queensland, New South Wales and Western Australia is clearly suffering.

"Large supermarkets are dominating the price and lowering the value of all milk and the money is not coming down (the supply chain) to the farmer. It's just not there to pass down.

Mr Tessmann said dairy farmers were united in their opposition against this issue and would keep fighting to get a fair outcome for as long as it took.

It's too late for Mr Gresham. He thought supply and demand would eventually balance out the impact from deregulation and continued working 100-hour weeks at a loss.

"To get up at 4am and work until dark to lose money. It was a business decision to close down. We can't keep going on losing hundreds of thousands of dollars each year."

Gympie Times

Topics:  dairy farm price war



Date nights under $50

ACCORDING to The Bachelor falling in love involves helicopter rides, private jets, shopping trips, and we mustn’t forget the hot tubs.

Brisbane's arts and culture events centre stage

You loved the film, now you're about to love the musical. Don't miss The Bodyguard The Musical in Brisbane this July.

THE arts and culture events you don't want to miss.

Homewares stores to fulfil your Instagram dreams

No Caption

You too can become an Insta-star with these fab stores.

Top 10 Brisbane experiences to cross off your bucket list

Do yourself a favour and get amongst the food truck scene. Eat Street is a great place to start.

A GOOD bucket list doesn’t have to span continents or cost millions.

Six mega sporting events you need to be at this year

Don't miss all the action trackside this season.

IF THERE is one thing Brisbane does damn well, it’s play host.

Six reasons to get to Brisbane this Autumn

The Brisbane Powerhouse has free comedy on Friday nights.

AUTUMN has to be up there with one of the best seasons of the year.

The best things to do in Brisbane are FREE. Yes, FREE

Mt Coot-tha is a seriously gorgeous way to start your day.

HEADING to the big smoke doesn’t have to come with a big price tag.

Wide Bay jobs could be in for a shot in the arm

Llew O'Brien Federal Member for Wide Bay

Which Gympie project will get the federal funding?

Gympie teen's death triggers new safety laws

Jason Garrels

Jason Garrel's death pivotal to law changes

All the winners from the Cage Birds section of the Gympie Show

Champion Parrot of the Gympie Show Brian Lambert.

Did you or someone you know enter the Gympie Show?

Local Partners

Dreamworld may supersize with 'Disneyland expansion'

OWNERS of icon Gold Coast theme park Dreamworld want to super-size the site with accommodation and entertainment to turn it into Australia’s Disneyland.

World’s strongest man reveals incredible 12,000 calorie diet

Brian Shaw won his 4th World's Strongest Man title. Source: Twitter

World’s strongest man reveals incredible 12,000-calorie diet

ABC2 slammed over football exhibition match coverage

Fans weren't too happy with ABC2's coverage of Wednesday night's game.

ABC2 slammed for coverage of soccer exhibition match

'Bulls--t!' Lisa Wilkinson grilled over Karl's pay packet

Join us for a Great Night as we Proudly present Lisa Wilkinson

“And you believe everything you read?”

Rebel Wilson trial: The secret we never could have known

Rebel Wilson outside court

“Most people wouldn’t know it exists,” she said.

Janet’s back in the ring

Marta Dusseldorp returns in season three of the TV series Janet King.

Season three of ABC's legal drama delves deeper than ever before.

Game of Thrones drops new trailer for season 7

Game of Thrones fans have been given a new trailer for season 7.

Fans are finally getting a full-throttled peak at season seven.

Open for inspection homes May 25-31

Check out this weekend's homes open for inspection

How Toowoomba house prices compare in Australia

For sale sign in front of home.

Here's what $700,000 will buy you in Toowoomba, Brisbane and Sydney

One of Maryborough's most historic homes is still for sale

FULL OF HISTORY: Trisha Moulds is owner of the historic Tinana state known as Rosehill. The beautiful home is currently for sale.

It has been the scene of both joy and tragedies over the years.

The face of the Sunshine Coast's overpriced rental crisis

Alyx Wilson had to rent a $385 unit in Currimundi because the market was too competitive for cheaper rental housing. She is now renting a room from friends who own a house in Currimundi, and says its much more affordable.

Young people feel the strain in competitive, expensive rental market

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!