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Dairy farmers are not creaming it in

Mar 31st, 2011 | By | Category: Front Page Layout, Latest News, Picture story

NOT MILKING IT IN: Ryan Butler say high milk prices don't mean increased profits for farmers.

DAIRY farm manager Ryan Butler says dairy farmers are not creaming it in with the rising price of milk.

“Farmers aren’t rolling in money with the price of milk going up.”

The owners of the Bay of Plenty farm on which he manages milk 210 cows a day,  will use the increased profits to simply keep the farm running, he says.

“Farms are getting more and more expensive to run. The rising prices are affecting us all.”

This year he has been able to afford to buy in better feed for the cows.

Mr Butler says giving the cows better feed increases the proteins and fats in the milk, which in turn farmers get a better price for.

Most importantly, the good prices mean farmers can keep the bank balance up for when years are not so good,  he says.

“Yes, it is a good year, but there are also bloody bad years, too.”

He says  just last year Northland dairy farmers were experiencing severe droughts and having to dry their herds off early.

“When you dry off you have no milk. When you have no milk you have no income.”

Mr Butler thinks the public might sometimes have the wrong idea about life as a dairy farmer.

“It’s very hard work. I don’t have much of a life outside of the farm.”

He can see how it is easy to look at a farm, see cows eating grass and a farmer in a nice ute, but people don’t see the hard times.

“When I have to get up at 4am, it’s raining and I have to put on wet gumboots, and go out and birth dead calves. At times like that I couldn’t think of a worse job.”

But Mr Butler says although sometimes the grass is greener, and he enjoys his lifestyle on the farm.

“I love the land. I would rather be out here than pushing paper in an office.”

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