Coles sky-high price and bobby calf program.

Coles sent out contracts to farmers last night locking in remarkable pricing for milk close to Sydney and the supermarket giant reportedly has plans to require farmers to rear all bobby calves.

Income estimates obtained by Stock & Land show tier one milk was priced at $8.95 a kilogram of milk solids for the first tier of their milk but farmers say that three days later, another 43c/kgMS was added, increasing the price to $9.38/kgMS.

Tier one milk, called "required milk" by Coles, is the minimum amount a farmer contracts to sell to the supermarket. Theoretically, additional milk may be sold to other processors but is also well-priced.

The initial price was $8.80/kgMS, with the additional 43c/kgMS taking the price to $9.23/kgMS.

The only deduction from prices was a $75 stopover charge.

Quality requirements include a somatic cell count of 200,000 cells/ml and a total plate count of 10,000 cf/ml and thermodurics at 2000 cfu/mL.

The bobby calf plan, mooted at both Victorian and NSW farmer meetings, would see dairy farmers required to rear all calves and Coles is reportedly investigating a buy-back scheme.

A number of Victorian dairy farmers contacted by Stock & Land who have sought income estimates from Coles via its agent, The Milk Department, are yet to receive any information.

Source: Stock and Land Thursday 4 July