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Milk quota gone, price in the cellar

"We work with live animals, we can't go on strike and send them to another factory like workers", says jorg porisch as one of his 80 cows walks to the milking robot. This is where the precious milk that is part of healthy fruit is obtained. That's what the advertising says. But it is also false advertising that is pushing the price of milk down, to the detriment of the few dairy farmers, especially since the milk quota fell to 31. Marz.

The price has already plummeted from 40 cents to the current 29 cents per liter. "The price has never dropped so dramatically", remembers the farmer from egloffsteinerhull. He does not want to complain. In his profession there are no certainties, you always have to reckon with fluctuations in price. He doesn't know what he will receive in his account four weeks later for the milk he delivers this month. But he believes that consumers are being told that too much milk is being produced since the milk quota was dropped. And the more goods are available, the less they are worth.

Rather the opposite is the case. "In reality, the average production was two percent lower", says the farmer. To print the price down, he recognizes as the goal of this misrepresentation, set by the five supermarket chains that dominate 85 percent of the food market. He is not alone in this opinion.

"The dairy farmers are under pressure from all sides. Only yesterday, at the german farmers' day in erfurt, the farmers' association called on the dairies to adapt to the structures and to merge in order to stand up to the food retail trade through this merger", says werner nutzel, executive director of the bavarian farmers' association in forchheim. Wholesale chains pay an inferior price to dairies. Individual dairies had no chance. But an association of dairies was the negotiating position strong, told nutzel of the proposals.

Jorg porisch regards the new "regional" products as hypocrisy, how the milk is now being promoted by a retail chain. "This is nothing other than concealing the price policy", nutzel puts the farmers' displeasure into words. Because although the farmer receives two cents more for this milk from the region, in the end it only covers the additional costs that arise due to more expensive feed costs. This feed has a different protein value and must be one hundred percent gene-free. "It's a marketing gimmick to make the consumer feel good", says the dairy farmer.

More and more requirements
Because it is also the food retail trade that is demanding more and more requirements in terms of animal welfare, without this having any effect on the value added. "The cost factor remains with the dairy farmer", says nutzel.
The farmers themselves are concerned that their animals feel good. Only these animals are healthy and produce good milk. But the price of milk is traded worldwide. Dairy farmers from new zealand, for example, are and were at an advantage because of the climate alone. "They don't need a stall", says porisch. "We have to compensate for this with know-how and higher milk yields, he adds. And for this, the farmers have to dig deep into their pockets to provide the "comfort oases", with massage brats, circle room, lots of light and air, but without building cesspools. In addition, there are construction requirements and demands that do not exist in other countries.

The milk quota, which was introduced 30 years ago, shortly before jorg porisch was born, was on the one hand advantageous because there was a price guarantee, but on the other hand it also entailed costs. At that time, the farmer's parents had 30 dairy cows. The set quota, i.E. The quantity of milk delivered, was 240,000 liters per year for his company. If a farmer wanted to expand, he had to buy additional milk quota on the milk exchange, i.E. Purchase more supply rights from farmers who had given up dairy farming. Part of the price was seven cents per liter. For example, if you bought 50 cows, you had to put 28,000 euros on the table to buy 400,000 liters of quota. In the meantime, the dairy farmer has had to open his wallet wide three times. To buy the quota needed for expansion. Then to invest in the barn, to meet the demands for animal welfare and ultimately again to finance the low price policy of the food chains. "If this price stays for a year, there won't be much left of animal husbandry in agriculture in bavaria", says porisch.

Dairy farms
District of forchheim 239 farms, 6171 dairy cows (year 2014; statistics bamberg agricultural office) milk production in bavaria from (january to april 2015 compared to the same period of the previous year): bavaria – 3.4 percent; – 1.7 percent.

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