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Regional Round-up  is a monthly newsletter providing an overview into the environmental and business conditions affecting farmers and rural businesses in the Goulburn Valley and North East Victoria.


A recent Dairy Australia Milk Production 2016/17 statement reported Northern Victoria dairy region production is down 18% to end of December. The next largest drop in production was the Western region down 7% and Eastern down 6%.

Add this drop in production to a lower milk price and it becomes clear why many Northern Vic Dairy Farms are experiencing cashflow stress.

Whilst hay is cheap and plentiful and water too; farmers who could well capitalise on lower inputs by purchasing more cows to increase production acknowledge their confidence is down and their willingness to borrow is low and they are opting for replacement heifers to grow the herd.

Milk Processing Farm Gate Price:

  • Murray Goulburn $4.73 with additional 13c to be paid in July. No change
  • Fonterra $5.20 Increased by 10c
  • Bega (Tatura Milk) $5.26 Increased by 26c
  • ACM $5.30 Awaiting confirmation of reports the price will soon rise.

Recently a local Newspaper reported Murray Goulburn is considering decommissioning one Victorian processing plant. Three plants are in the mix, with one of these plants being Rochester.

Dairy Farmer client enquiries are starting to build as school holidays draw to a close.


There is little demand from crop and sheep entities. Sheep prices are holding firm and the higher than average crop yields are compensating for the lower hay and cereal crop prices. The summer rains will see a need for timely weed control.


The pear harvest is ramping up in the Shepparton area. The debate over the backpacker tax continues with many Orchardists claiming the readjusted rate was too late and available pickers are down on last year’s numbers whilst others believe the difference is negligible.


Local cattle sales have resumed after the Christmas break and are showing strong trends. January Echuca store cattle sales have had strong yardings of good quality trade cattle and good competition from buyers. At Shepparton extreme hot conditions reduced the numbers presented in January.

The North East has enjoyed good summer rainfall and the resulting pasture growth. Confidence remains high amongst beef producers and available feed and cheap hay is adding to the confidence.

Small Business

Small Business Counsellors continue to promote the service to service providers.

The double whammy for irrigation suppliers persist as reports emerge of a major irrigation service business in Northern Victoria laying off staff at two sites.

Hay Contractors are experiencing trouble getting paid after a very busy hay season. An Agronomist reported the current demand from dairy farmers is the lowest he has experienced in the last twenty years.


Storage levels in Lake Eildon are at 75% against 43% last year. The Hume is holding 83% (against 37% LY) and Dartmouth 78% (against 46% LY). (Refer - GMW resources storage levels website.)

Determinations for all systems remain unchanged. Murray and Goulburn 100% HWS and the Campaspe and Broken 100% HWS plus 100% LWS.

Water prices (Temp water) averaged $95 for December and $69 for January. Trades for the 1st week of February are down to $55.

High Reliability water shares have fallen slightly. $2,500 for December and $2,550 for January and are down to $2,368 for the first week of February. Low reliability shares traded for $240 in December, $250 in January and up to $268 so far in February. (Refer Vic Water Register).


Call 1300 834 775 to find out what assistance we may be able to provide you, or make an appointment with one of our experienced Rural Financial Counsellors.

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Contact Us

Rural Financial Counselling Service Victoria - North East.

102 Hume Street

Wodonga VIC 3689

PHONE: 1300 834 775


FAX: (02) 6100 6123