What a year of contrasts it has been in the northern dairy industry.
From drought and empty silage pits to a widespread improvement in seasonal conditions combined with increasing milk prices mid-year, things have turned around very quickly.
In recent months the record increases in fertiliser and fuel prices have taken away some of the confidence, but overall things are looking up.
Yes, we have seen and continue to see exits post-drought and I have no doubt the strong beef price is allowing for a smooth transition for some.
But where to from here? Do we as individuals and as an industry just take a breath and solidify our current position, or do we look to the future and invest in our business and grow?
I believe now is the time for those who are keen, to grow their business and look to the future.
We have solid demand for milk from the major processors and have seen this drive prices up this year.
With the latest retailer increase to generic milk pricing, $1 a litre milk is now absolutely dead.
In part, thanks to consumers and the past efforts of QDO and Dairy Connect. All of this means we have no downward pressure on farm gate milk price in the short to medium term in Queensland and NSW.
Yet, we still face challenges. With the new consumer focus on environmental, social and governance (ESG) requirements that includes traditional environmental concerns, emissions, animal welfare and general social licence to operate, we must be prepared to adapt.
Advocacy must step up and ensure the transition to new practices is done in a way and with enough assistance to have a net positive effect on the farmer's hip pocket.
With the newly formed eastAUSmilk there has been a renewed optimism around the northern dairy industry and what advocacy can do to help farmers get back on the front foot.
We have a positive agenda and will be focused on not just survival, but developing a thriving and prosperous dairy industry that we can be proud of.
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