Free State dairy farmers selling herds
Free State dairy farmers are selling their herds because the local production costs of milk exceed the price of milk, a representative said.
Free State Milk Producers' Organisation chairman Bernard Maree said there were concerns that a large number of dairy farmers would not be able to survive the current low producer prices, coupled with high input prices.
"Several farmers have sold their herds and many other sales may follow."
Maree said local farmers could not continue to produce at a loss, because of rising costs.
These included increases in veterinary costs of between 10 and 15 percent, a proposed electricity increase of 16 percent and a minimum wage increase of 52 percent.
Dairy farmers in the Free State received a lower milk price compared to other regions, which was a consequence of a non-market related price cut in June.
Maree said the decrease in the milk price would have a negative affect on Free State farmers for some time.
Producer prices would have to significantly increase to avert a disaster in the Free State and to guarantee the sustainability of the region as a milk production area, he said.
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