Staple under strain


Local milk supplies were depleted last week.
Local milk supplies were depleted last week.

Along with the destruction of the Yarloop township and burning more than 71,357ha of land, primary milk producer Harvey Fresh was forced to close its processing plant in Harvey.

Bassendean Coles store manager Mark Silver said the store ran out of Harvey Fresh milk.

“We ran out and the shelves have been empty, but we do have our own brand and other suppliers, so we have still been able to stock other milk,” Mr Silver said.

“Harvey is a fair chunk of our stock, about 20 to 25 per cent. I understand it won’t be long before we are able to stock Harvey Fresh again.”

Into the Woods on Old Perth Road was not affected by the shortage.

Producing more than 150 million litres of milk and supplying roughly 20 per cent of the State’s milk, Harvey Fresh’s closure has sent ripples throughout WA.

The WA Farmers Federation said the road closures also resulted in both tankers and farmers being forced to dump thousands of litres of milk, after the tankers were unable to reach many farms until Monday.

With cows still requiring milking, farmers quickly ran out of storage space, causing many to dump the milk.

“Relationships between dairy farmers and authorities have been strained over the last week as farmers try to do what’s best for their dairy cows while, at the same time, dealing with a backlog of milk,” WA Farmers Federation Dairy Council president Phil Depiazzi said.

Processing at the Harvey Fresh plant recommenced on Monday morning, with milk tankers gaining full access to many farms again.