Monday, 23 March 2009

Who will be buying organic milk from now on?

It is something that has always puzzled me, but I have never been able to figure out who is buying the paltry amount of organic milk that our supermarket stocks. I checked the prices tonight on a 2 litre container:

  • Own brand 2 litre - $2.47
  • Organic 2 litre - $8.67
It is a long time since I have been near a cow. When I was growing up, my drunkle (drunken uncle, who had been a dairy farmer) would occasionally take me to a neighbouring property to see how everything was done, and he used to procure flagons of pasteurised (but not homogenised) milk whenever I came to visit. I loved those flagons, with 3 or 4 inches of proper cream floating in the neck, just waiting for a 12 year old boy to get into.

So I won't claim to know much about cows, dairies or animal husbandry in the dairy industry. But for the life of me, I can't see how there can be a difference of over $6 in the price of 2 litres of milk. If we were buying the organic stuff, we'd be flat broke by now. Two kids will happily drain 2 to 3 litres per day, and with a third one about to hit the cow stuff, I'm glad we have bought a fridge that can easily hold six litres of the white moo.

Either the organic industry is making super-profits, or they are catastrophically inefficient.

Think for a minute though what will happen to the family budget if we are forced down the organic road. Our weekly milk spend would go from $20 (I'm calculating on 8 x 2 litre bottles) to $69.37 - a massive increase. And think of the downstream impacts on yoghurt, cheese, cream, sour cream, custard and so on if the eco-loons get their dastardly way. Whilst falling milk prices hurt small dairy farmers and drive them out of the industry, it has meant a generation growing up with plenty of calcium and strong bones. You don't see too many stunted kids these days. Even the poor can afford to drink milk. Hell, it's probably cheaper than bottled water.

But if the price went up 3.5 times, the impact on struggling families would be disastrous. We need cheap milk, so bugger the organic option.

And if you do hear a watermelon telling you that all dairies must go organic, just ask them, "Don't you love how some greenies will happily grind the faces of the poor to make their bread?"


Margo's Maid said...

Cattle are "drenched" using various chemicals to prevent them becoming infested with worms and other parasites.

If organic milk means that they are not treated properly for this kind of thing, then producers would need to pay me to drink it.

kae said...

With the deregulation of the dairy industry the price of milk soared.

Sure, you can now buy eleventythree different types and brands of milk at ehorbitant cost.

The farmers are still getting 4/5 of 5/8 of fuckall for their milk.

WV: therie
AGW is a therie

Anonymous said...

What you are ignoring is simple economics. If you (and other people) buy organic milk then you create more demand. More demand leads to more supply, more competition and eventually lower prices as a result.

It all comes down to how much you care about supporting the organic industry. If, like me, you'd prefer to buy organic over non-organic but often can't afford the price difference buy organic where you can. Coles, for instance, does a great range of cheap organic products as part of its "You'll Love Coles" range.

Prices of organic products have definately become more competitive in recent years and I wouldn't be surprised if the cost of things like organic milk also start to drop as more and more people jump on the organic bandwagon.

And if you don't care about buying organic, then you've got nothing to worry about price-wise. Health-wise and environmental impact-wise maybe, but not price-wise.