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‘Bulk to boutique’ dairy strategy to be examined at Australian Dairy Conference in Shepparton

Is the current drive to go from bulk to boutique the right strategy for Australia’s dairy industry’ will be among the key topics of discussion at this year’s Australian Dairy Conference.

Rabobank senior analyst Michael Harvey will be one of the keynote presenters examining the pros and cons of this strategy at the conference, to be held in Shepparton, Victoria, next week (February 16-18).

Mr Harvey will address the issue of whether the ‘bulk to boutique’ pathway – which is seeing dairy processors increasingly seek to add value to the milk pool rather than just provide milk as a bulk commodity – really is the ‘road to riches’ for Australia’s dairy industry.

“The question of whether this really is the right strategy for the future of Australian dairy has been a major focus for many in the industry in recent times,” Mr Harvey said.

“Serious consideration needs to be given to what the risks and rewards are for following this path, and importantly what are the commercial realities. Dairy producers need to understand what successful value-adding in the value chain will mean for farmgate returns.”

In its flagship Agribusiness Outlook for 2016 released this week, agribusiness banking specialist Rabobank said while dairy prices continued to be weighed down by strong supply growth – particularly out of Europe after the recent removal of quotas – prices were expected to begin to pick up in the latter half of 2016. “Although the timing of the recovery will be driven by how quickly the brakes can be applied to global milk production,” Mr Harvey said.

“With cash flows in the dairy sector expected to remain tight throughout 2016, thankfully there is little change foreseen in operating costs such as fuel, fertiliser and interest rates, although seasonal conditions in the coming autumn will be the major driver of profitability.

The Australian Dairy Conference, which Rabobank has sponsored since 2003, will also feature a presentation from the former chair of Fonterra (and current Rabobank board member) Sir Henry van der Heyden, who will talk on the importance of leadership in meeting the challenges facing dairy and the importance of creating change.

Rabobank Australia & New Zealand is a part of the international Rabobank Group, the world’s leading specialist in food and agribusiness banking. Rabobank has more than 115 years’ experience providing customised banking and finance solutions to businesses involved in all aspects of food and agribusiness. Rabobank is structured as a cooperative and operates in 40 countries, servicing the needs of approximately 8.8 million clients worldwide through a network of more than 1000 offices and branches. Rabobank Australia & New Zealand is one of Australasia’s leading rural lenders and a significant provider of business and corporate banking and financial services to the region’s food and agribusiness sector. The bank has 94 branches throughout Australia and New Zealand.

Media contacts:

Denise Shaw
Head of Media Relations 
Rabobank Australia & New Zealand 
Phone: 02 8115 2744 or 0439 603 525 

Skye Ward
Media Relations Manager
Rabobank Australia & New Zealand
Phone: 02 4855 1111 or 0418 216 103