Australian milk prices hit crippling low


The global dairy downturn is having a major impact in Australia, where dairy farmers are furious about the extremely low price of milk.

Protesters say major supermarkets Coles and Woolworths are milking dairy farmers dry.

"Unless something happens by the end of the year, it won't be a case of do we want to continue -- it won't be financially viable to continue," says farmer Robbie Radel.

Farmers are struggling to survive after recent cuts in how much they're paid by two major dairy processors.

But some say low milk prices are the real reason the industry is in trouble.

"It is an absurdity that we have AU$1 a litre milk and we have water that is dearer," says Australian Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce.

Shoppers have thrown their support behind a campaign boycotting cheap supermarket-brand milk.

And Mr Joyce is warning retailers to clean up their act.

"I put the retailers on clear notice -- I'll push for further changes if we don't resolve this issue," he says.

Mr Joyce isn't prepared to act on calls for a 50 cent levy on milk just yet.

The industry's future is looking a little brighter after the Australian government announced a hand out -- AU$555 million in loans.

But farmers say that's not enough to save them from the real problem -- supermarket milk prices.


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