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Bodger

Dairy Farmers?

I've just been reading through this.

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

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

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. Smile
Treacodactyl

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

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

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. Very Happy
Rob R

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. Very Happy


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

For most of us Rolling Eyes 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

For most of us Rolling Eyes 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

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

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

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

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

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

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. Nick

They're also nothing like microbreweries because dairies produce almost exactly the same stuff, for most people most of the time. Certainly, once it's on your cocoa pops or in your tea, it's the same. Micro beers are distinctly different, and that's their usp.

It's a comparison that fails in a lot of ways.
Rob R

Certainly, once it's on your cocoa pops or in your tea, it's the same.

If you're a heathen, yes. We'd just managed to get some decent milk in the local shop, after years of Spar's own brand. Then the shop was changed to McColls and now all we can get is Wiseman's. puke_r
dpack

cow>bucket>dpack is very different to owt from a shop and i will happily consume more than is probably good for me

i use alpro "fake milk " for cooking and drink black coffee if no moo is available to help.

cow>machine>chiller>jug>dpack is acceptable but there isnt such a chain locally

and i only really like salad fed jersey/guernsey milk

maybe im fussy but i would rather not bother with the stuff most places sell

the economics of milk are such that the folk who might have a product i want are very rare nowadays,i grew up thinking unpasturised jersey milk was normal milk but it seems it is the "caviar"of white splosh.
Mistress Rose

Along the same lines Dpack, I would much prefer not to buy homogenised milk, as you can't take the cream off it for 'top of the milk', clotted cream, or even a tiny amount of butter. Sadly, I can't really get proper milk except at some farmers markets. Rob R

Along the same lines Dpack, I would much prefer not to buy homogenised milk, as you can't take the cream off it for 'top of the milk', clotted cream, or even a tiny amount of butter. Sadly, I can't really get proper milk except at some farmers markets.

Waitrose do it; Duchy Originals. There might also be some farms nearby, depending upon your location.
Nick

You are not most people. Mistress Rose

I think I can get some in Sainsburys at least sometimes, but it is annoying that it isn't the norm these days. I understand that homogenised lasts longer, but still prefer the proper stuff.
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