I am often asked why customers have to pay more for Biodynamic milk. It’s a good question and I will attempt to explain it below.. It’s a good question and I will attempt to explain it below.
I would like to say that we are making money hand over fist and are living a life of luxury, but unfortunately this is not the case.
Firstly. We pay our farmers more.
They get a 10c/ litre premium for being certified Bio-dynamic and we are aiming to increase the amount we pay our farmers again this year. You may think that our Biodynamic/organic milk should be cheaper as we don’t have expensive input costs like fertilizers, poisons and antibiotics, however there is still a cost to farm naturally as we remineralise the soil and land with the biodynamic preparations, natural minerals, seaweeds and mixed nitrogen fixing pastures. The truth is that as we farm naturally we just don’t get the same production from our cows as a conventional farmer.
Our cows produce 10 to 15 litres per cow from pasture whereas a conventionally farmed cow gets fed grass, grain, protein concentrate (often GMO), corn silage, whole cottonseed (definitely GMO) and rumen modifiers (think antibiotics) so that the farmer can get 20-30 litres or more from their cows.
Another reason is that the cost of packaging is significantly more expensive, solely because of where we are located. Our milk bottles are blown in Brisbane and trucked up to us, twice a week. It costs 45c for a bottle delivered to our factory whereas if we were near a capital city it would cost 20c. To overcome this challenge we are planning to blow our own 1.5 litre PET bottle. Not only are PET bottles fully recyclable compared to HDPE but this means that we can save money on each bottle of milk we produce, and share some of those savings with our farmers!
Furthermore we have resisted the urge to automate our milk processing lines. We would rather employ our local community and offer jobs to people in an area where there aren’t many going than have machines running the filler and packing milk into crates.
We also don’t standardise our milk. The larger processors remove the valuable cream from their milk so that it just meets the legal minimum of 3.3% butterfat.
We leave the cream in our milk where it belongs so that it tastes the way it should.
We also don’t dilute our milk with permeate or whatever they call it now. The supermarket chains always want a cheaper price and the processors do what they have to, to get that price down. The race for the cheapest price is a disheartening downward spiral and food quality always suffers.
Finally we are only a small processor and don’t have the economies of scale that the larger processors have.
We understand that our milk is more expensive than dollar a litre milk, but can you really compare the two?
Supermarket chains lose money on the dollar a litre milk, in the hopes of getting consumers into their store. They want you to think that that because milk and bread etc are cheap then everything is cheap and this is not the case.
In doing so they are destroying a whole industry and the livelihood for many Australians. In 2000 there were more than 1500 dairy farms in Queensland, 2 years ago that number sat at 400 and today we have only 306 dairy farms left in Queensland. In our region there is only approx. 50 farms and we support 9 of these.
Thank you for supporting us, and the other family farms on the Atherton Tablelands that care about their animals, their land and your health as much as we do. Every time you buy a bottle of Mungalli milk, know that that money it is going to a farmer local to you.