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Queensland farmer blames supermarkets for being forced to kill dairy cows

Greenmount dairy farmer Scott Priebbenow has sold off the last of his cows.Source:News Regional Media

A Queensland farmer has sent the last of his dairy cows off to die after the incredibly cheap price of supermarket milk became unsustainable.

Scott Priebbenow and his parents had run a successful dairy farm near Toowoomba for 60 years but earlier this month, the generation farmer decided to pack up shop and send the cows to the abattoir.

“Our cows are going to be hanging on a hook in a fridge,” Mr Priebbenow told the ABC.

“I feel let down, I feel shattered, I feel sad; it’s just so easy to fix this — that’s why I’m so angry,” he said.

The Priebbenow family used to produce close to one million litres of milk a year but have since been left with nothing.

“Right now I’m standing out in the paddock, looking around and going around in circles because it’s all a blur,” Mr Priebbenow told 2GB host Alan Jones after sending his cows to be killed for meat.

The generation farmer called Australia’s supermarket giants “dirty, rotten, mongrel bastards”, claiming they had “pulled the wool” over the nation.

“There’s so many people out there that want to help there and they can’t because they’re tied to whatever the supermarkets want to do,” he said.

“They put up all these great statements about what they’ve done to help out the farmer but seriously they’ve done nothing.”

In February, Woolworths announced it would be adding an extra 10 cents per litre to benefit struggling farmers who would receive “every cent” of the price increase.

By March, Coles and Aldi eventually joined Woolworths in raising the price of two and three-litre bottles of milk, vowing to pass the extra money onto Australian dairy farmers.

It brought an end to the eight-year milk price war between the major supermarkets and is expected to help farmers struggling with the drought.

In August, Coles, Woolworths and Aldi again increased the price of their homebrand milk from $1.10 to $1.20 — but the extra 10 cents was not for the farmers.

All three supermarkets said the price rise was necessary due to the recent increase in farmgate milk prices between milk suppliers and dairy farmers.

“Since February we have seen farmgate prices increase significantly and they’re forecast to continue rising throughout the year,” Woolworths said.

“As a result of these farmgate price movements, we have been paying our suppliers even more for milk and other dairy products across the category over recent months.

“Due to these ongoing whole-of-market cost pressures, we have reviewed and adjusted the price of Woolworths milk.”

Despite the explanation from the supermarkets, Mr Priebbenow said it isn’t enough.

“You dirty, rotten, mongrel bastards! We need that 10 cents. We need that for us,” he said.

“There’s so many people going out of dairying, there’s so many people that have sent heir cows to be turned into mince like mine did last week.

“Now, I don’t know what’s going to happen. The world, it’s just gone mad.”


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