meta An increase in Dairy Australia’s workforce is being met with a decline in milk output of one billion litres. :: The Bullvine - The Dairy Information You Want To Know When You Need It

An increase in Dairy Australia’s workforce is being met with a decline in milk output of one billion litres.


Despite a decrease in national milk output of about a billion litres over the previous five years, the number of employees working for Dairy Australia has increased by almost 30 percent over that same time period.

According to the annual reports of the DA, the organisation had a total staff of 139.65 full-time equivalent positions in the 2016–2017 fiscal year, with 91.3 FTEs located at its Southbank headquarters and 48.35 FTEs distributed across its eight regional development programme sites.

The most recent annual report for 2021-22 states that the number of full-time equivalent employees has increased to 178, although it does not provide a breakdown of how many of those work at Southbank versus the RDPs.

The national milk production has decreased from 9 billion litres in 2016–17 to an estimate of just about 8 billion litres for this season while the number of employees working for DA has increased.

The increase in employee numbers is reflected in the salary bill, which has increased from $14.9 million in 2016-2017 to $18.34 million in 2021-22.

David Nation, the managing director of the DA, stated that the number of employees “fluctuates over time based on the huge rise in the supply of services to farmers and the sector and the reduced need on consultants to offer these services.”

In response to inquiries over the expansion of Dairy Australia’s workforce, Managing Director David Nation stated that he intends to raise the level of farmer engagement.

“There are also plans to increase Dairy Australia’s services and engagement with farmers through each of our 8 regional sites,” the statement read. Which involves increasing both the expertise and the capacity to provide support for agricultural enterprises.

Despite the fact that the DA was unsuccessful earlier in the year in its attempt to get a 20% rise in the levies that farmers contribute to the company’s research, development, and marketing efforts, they have decided to raise wages.

At the time, the Australian Dairy Farmers Board urged the nation’s 5000 farmers not to support any increase in the levy. This was due to the fact that dairy processing giants such as Fonterra, Bega, and Saputo refused to contribute, despite enjoying the benefits of the R&D body’s $10 million investment in post farmgate manufacturing research, market access, and development. At the time, the Australian Dairy Farmers Board urged the nation’s 5000 farmers not to support any increase in

Glenn Britnell, a dairy farmer near Woolsthorpe, said that the issue that DA needed to address was “What value have we obtained from hiring more workers while producing less milk?” Britnell added that this was the question that DA needed to answer.

It’s fine with me if they add more people to their workforce, but are they also adding value further down the chain?

Steve Henty, a dairy farmer in Cohuna, stated that DA had brought value to his own operation throughout the course of his lifetime, but he was unable to attribute anything to the company’s R&D that had assisted him over the past five years.

On the other hand, he stated that “when there’s an emergency, they [the DA] do really step up, calling to ask what we need, particularly when things are tight.”

Regarding the decrease in milk output, Mr. Henty stated that “everyone has to bear a little bit of blame.” He pointed the finger at individuals with large numbers of cows who “had not been able to achieve the correct balance” as well as “those of us of a certain age who are thinking of running beef.”


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