Butter not on the table at Baffle
DESPITE record high prices and demand, you'll never be able to get your hands on Baffle Dairy Fresh butter.
Owner Bruce Poulsen says the region's only dairy produces milk and cream but not butter.
"Not as long as the sun rises in the east,” Mr Poulsen said.
He explained that Baffle Dairy Fresh only produced enough cream to barely satisfy demand and, given butter requires large volumes of cream to produce, it could never supply production of the table spread.
Mr Poulsen said cream production had taken a hit over the past 12 months as skim milk sales fell 10%.
Less skim milk produced means less of the cream by-product is available.
That, coupled with the fact Baffle Dairy Fresh won't remove cream from full-cream milk unlike large dairy processors, means making butter would be unviable.
Mr Poulsen said while global factors were affecting world butter prices, local factors had caused unique problems in the domestic industry.
He said his dairy had received no rain this year until March, when six months of rain fell in two days, and only 2mm since then.
Grain prices have risen as a result of weather conditions, meaning extra feed costs.
Mr Poulsen also pays almost $20,000 a quarter for power.
He said when he began farming in 1993 there were 200 producers in the Port Curtis dairy area, and now there were 31.
A farmer in Monto had sold all of his dairy cows last week, and in the two weeks before that, dairy farms shut in the south-east and in Nanango.
Mr Poulsen said deregulation and the $1 milk wars had both played a role in the decline.
He urged residents to buy local - for the long term.
A year ago, following public outrage at the treatment of dairy farmers, sales of Baffle Dairy Fresh skyrocketed 70%.
Buying non-supermarket brand milk was all the rage for three months, Mr Poulsen said, then sales returned to their previous levels.
WHY BUTTER PRICES ARE GOING SKY HIGH
A CONSTELLATION of factors have come together to push the price of butter to record highs.
A drop in production, a spike in demand and an increasing taste for full-cream milk are behind the increase.
Coles hiked the price of its own-brand butter by more than 20%.
This month a Coles brand 500g pat of butter rose from $3.60 to $4.40.
"Due to changing world commodity prices and a significant cost increase from our supplier, we have increased prices for Coles Brand Butter and Butter blends to reflect the higher cost,” a Coles spokeswoman said.
Woolworths and Aldi have also raised butter prices this year.
According to data from Global Dairy Trade, global butter prices have increased by more than 50% over the last 12 months, and are 150% higher than at their lowest point in August 2015.
Dairy Australia data shows butter sales increased by 4.2% in Australia in the 12 months to April.
"This has been driven not only by consumers substituting away from margarine and vegetable oil-based spreads in favour of butter spreads, but also due to greater use of butter for cooking, due to its superior taste and cooking functionality,” Dairy Australia's report said.
Other reasons demand for butter and prices have increased include:
Growing consumer perceptions that butter is less processed than alternatives
Large food service operations in the US moving towards using butter on grill plates and in muffins
A growing appetite for butter, cream and ice cream in large export markets like China