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Dairy Farmers?
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Bodger



Joined: 23 May 2006
Posts: 13510

PostPosted: Wed Dec 02, 15 6:35 am    Post subject: Dairy Farmers?  Reply with quote    

I've just been reading through this.

http://www.lowimpact.org/microdairies-making-them-as-successful-as-micro-breweries/#more-55548

Mistress Rose



Joined: 21 Jul 2011
Posts: 10822

PostPosted: Wed Dec 02, 15 8:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Not something I will be going in for, but looks a good idea.

Rob R



Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 31902
Location: York
PostPosted: Wed Dec 02, 15 11:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

There are lots of micro dairies around the country now and I'd urge everyone to support them (www.facebook.com/groups/RealMilkUK/) but there's a fundamental difference between a microdairy and brewery. The latter is essentially a food processor, converting a bought in commodity into a product, so they can buy as much or as little as they need, and store the end product for longer. Dairies, on the other hand, mainly produce their own milk, so there's a lead time of up to 2 years and the shelf life of the products is more limited. Also, dairy isn't really consumed in the same way, so I can see where they're coming from with the analogy, but I'm not expecting it to be that similar.

But, of course, you only get the very best meat from artisan micro butcheries.

Treacodactyl
Downsizer Moderator


Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 25697
Location: Jumping on the bandwagon of opportunism
PostPosted: Wed Dec 02, 15 5:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Is there a non-FB site? Looking at http://www.naturalfoodfinder.co.uk/unpasteurised-raw-milk-uk there's nothing within about 30 miles of us, which is a shame as we're in dairy country.

Rob R



Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 31902
Location: York
PostPosted: Wed Dec 02, 15 5:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

No, I don't know where is within 30 miles of you, but there's several on there that aren't necessarily raw, too.

Mistress Rose



Joined: 21 Jul 2011
Posts: 10822

PostPosted: Thu Dec 03, 15 7:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Some microdairies extend the shelf life by making things from the milk like cheese. I know one that makes ice cream, and their single cream is like others double cream. If I want clotted cream, I just buy their double cream and leave it in the fridge for a couple of days.

Rob R



Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 31902
Location: York
PostPosted: Thu Dec 03, 15 8:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Mistress Rose wrote:
Some microdairies extend the shelf life by making things from the milk like cheese. I know one that makes ice cream, and their single cream is like others double cream. If I want clotted cream, I just buy their double cream and leave it in the fridge for a couple of days.


Yes, but you're still required to sell it within the use by date and use everything you produce. Compared to grain & beer it's gone in no time.

That's one of the hardest challenges of any small food business, you need to sell absolutely everything because you're whole business is even smaller than larger businesses margins of flexibility (ie they can dump more than you produce). The consumer, even us who are into food issues, are far too fickle.

Bodger



Joined: 23 May 2006
Posts: 13510

PostPosted: Thu Dec 03, 15 9:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

For most of us beer isn't an essential, where as milk is. It takes some looking at as to how farmers have come to be in such a weak position.

The farming entrepreneurs who've diversified into dairy goats seem to be in a stronger position but obviously there's much fewer of them. There's an old saying that holds good and that is that a farmers worse enemy is another farmer. There's always someone whose prepared to undercut you and work for next to nothing.

Rob R



Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 31902
Location: York
PostPosted: Thu Dec 03, 15 11:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Bodger wrote:
For most of us beer isn't an essential, where as milk is. It takes some looking at as to how farmers have come to be in such a weak position.


It's nothing new - when you have something that you can't just turn off you're always in a weak position. You're dealing with unstoppable biological processes and trying to fit them into an economical model which relies upon free choice.

Mistress Rose



Joined: 21 Jul 2011
Posts: 10822

PostPosted: Fri Dec 04, 15 7:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

That's why I said some turn their milk into cheese Rob. It has a far longer shelf life, so even though you have to process all of the milk, and you don't get a return for a longer time, it is not necessary to sell everything in a very short time scale. A cheese that doesn't sell one week is more mature, not unsalable. It does go off more quickly than beer, but not anything like as fast as milk.

Rob R



Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 31902
Location: York
PostPosted: Fri Dec 04, 15 9:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Chese is a way to add value but you have the same fundamental issue of biology - you have to consume it at a similar rate as the cow produces it, otherwise you end up with too much cheese that depresses the markets further. And if cheese markets pick up you have an even longer, albeit marginally, lead time than with liquid milk. By comparison micobreweries can just buy more malt, they don't tend to grow, or even malt, their own.

Bodger



Joined: 23 May 2006
Posts: 13510

PostPosted: Fri Dec 04, 15 12:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

It still leaves most farmers at the mercy of the dairies and they tend not to show a lot of that when it comes to negotiating for the price of the milk.

Rob R



Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 31902
Location: York
PostPosted: Fri Dec 04, 15 1:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Whilst I agree with Microdairies, and I'd probably have one if I had the spare time & capital, they are not immune from exactly the same price pressures that larger dairies face. If you think dairies are unfair about the way they buy milk, that is nothing compared to the retail market which can change from day to day with no notice what-so-ever and is extremely price concious.

Mistress Rose



Joined: 21 Jul 2011
Posts: 10822

PostPosted: Sat Dec 05, 15 8:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

I realise that you still need long lead times on even cheese making Rob. I was suggesting it as a way of extending shelf life and giving a little more leeway.

We have a lead time of 20-40 years minimum rising to 150 years on our crops, and hazel is pretty awkward about timing as it has to be harvested within a year or two of the right one otherwise it goes out of useable size. It was noticeable at a conference I was at that the chestnut coppicers were far more laid back about the market than the hazel coppicers for that very reason.

Rob R



Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 31902
Location: York
PostPosted: Sat Dec 05, 15 9:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Yes, I know, but to go back to the OP, it's not like the microbreweries because they don't have to do anything to store the ingredients, in fact they don't have t buy them, whereas dairy producers must spend money to turn their produce into something more storable, and still be uncertain of people wanting it. Cheese adds value, but it's a lot cheaper to dump milk rather than cheese.

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