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Published on July 10th, 2012

Dairy farms on King Island affected by cheese slump

Thanks to his years of firsthand experience with Tasmania's rural property market, both as a farmer and as a Real Estate Sales Executive with Elders, Dave Robertson has a keen eye for trends and changes in the sector – and right now, lower demand for specialty cheeses is creating out-of-the-ordinary changes for King Island dairy properties.

King Island, of course, is home to the flagship King Island Dairy, which produces a range of internationally-recognised dairy products from yoghurts, creams and desserts to luxury cheeses.

But a slump in the luxury cheese market at a time when many consumers would prefer to pay down debt than indulge can spell big changes for the local dairy industry.

Dave revealed that one "reasonably large" 2,200 acre property on King Island will be converted from a dairy operation to a beef property – and there may be other changes on the horizon too.

Farming is in Dave's blood, and after being based on King Island for 22 years, it's fair to say that he's passionate about rural property – and he knows an unusual trend when he sees one.

Converting a property from dairy to beef is something Dave doesn't see a lot of on mainland Tasmania – in fact, it's usually the other way around.

Dairy going back to beef – which Dave says is becoming the norm on King Island instead of an exception  – seems to be an overall reflection of the performance of the specialty cheeses market.

"These are good properties, but it's going to be a huge change in the way they've been used in the past compared to the way they'll be used going forward," he said.

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