Queensland has lost a staggering 90 per cent of its dairy farms in four decades, going from 3052 in 1980 to 327 in 2020.
That's according to recent Dairy Australia figures, but some in the industry say the number is now closer to 270.
Deregulation in 2000 and the supermarket milk price wars from 2011 are often blamed as the main reasons for farmers exiting the industry or encouraging the shift to larger, more intensive farming systems with greater economies of scale.
Even with the farm gate milk price set to jump significantly in the new financial year, some farmers say the family dairy farm will continue to struggle.
At Tabooba, south of Beaudesert, Anthony Sellars is the last dairy farmer standing in his area.
"One just up the road shut down two months ago. I'm the only one left on this road now," Mr Sellars said.
Mr Sellars said the supermarket milk wars and rising fertiliser, grain, diesel and herbicide costs had put pressure on dairy farms, shrinking profit margins.
"The government needs to pull the supermarkets in line because they get away with anything they want. They dictate the price that the processors sell milk on," Mr Sellars said.
"It may be getting better, but I don't think so. We are getting a bit of a price rise in July - probably around eight to 10 cents a litre to take it to 83c, but with all the costs that we've incurred lately, we really need a 20c/L pay rise."
Down the road at Christmas Creek, Michael Cahill made the difficult decision to give up dairying in 2017 due to the milk wars and sustaining a serious head injury.
In 2010, he was getting about 58c/L, but when the price fell to 53c/L, it was the last straw.
He sold his family's 300 dairy cows and leased out part of their property and the milking shed, which included five automated milking robots.
"Everything got a bit too hard for me, so I gave up. I sold the cows to someone and they leased the dairy off me. That didn't work out too well, so the dairy's closed now," Mr Cahill said.
"I had been doing a bit of work off-farm milking cows for other people. I'm not doing anything much at the moment.
"It's hard. It's something I've done most of my life and it's hard not to be in it."
Mr Cahill is still looking to sell the milking machines and other equipment, but with not many Queenslanders looking to invest, they will probably go to a southern operation.
He's also still considering leasing the farm, but being a little 'gun shy' from his last experience, it would have to be to the right person.
Despite all the hardships, the farmer still thinks the industry has a bright future.
"It'd be nice to see some young people get back into the industry. It is a good industry to be in."
As more family dairies sell up or move to more automation, Cynthia Hatchett preserves Queensland's rich dairy history as president of the Queensland Dairy and Heritage Museum at Murgon, north of Kingaroy.
With travel opening up, the museum has been getting up to three busloads of adults and school children a week to soak up the history.
One of Mrs Hatchett's favourite things to do is put on a butter making demonstration - a crowd favourite.
"You'd be surprised by the comments we get. The older generation say, 'I did that before I went to school' or different things like that. It's really lovely to listen to them," Mrs Hatchett said.
The museum contains dairy memorabilia and machinery from across the region, including an old Lister cream separator.
"A number of people that have worked within the industry are very interested to still have a look at it," she said.
"It's surprising the number of men who say, 'Oh, that was my job. I used to have to do that'."
While her parents were not dairy farmers, she fondly remembers visiting farms owned by her aunties and uncles and helping. Her husband Rodney, however, did grow up on a dairy.
"Rodney's mother used to say, 'If the crop failed, you could always rely on your cream check to buy the groceries'," she said.
"I think every farm had some cows and milked cows, and had some pigs and different things, but not anymore. That's the way it is, isn't it? They don't seem to like the little man anymore."
Harrisville dairy farmer Paul Roderick said there were several factors pushing farmers out, including geography and family matters.
"I think there's outcomes for everyone, but the reality is, some farms are transitioning towards an exit because of all the headwinds and even succession planning and cost of land or alternative land uses," Mr Roderick said.
Mr Roderick said even if prices went into 'the early 80s', it wasn't a guarantee for success.
"We're going to see increased milk prices, but the reality is a lot, if not all of it, will be eaten up with higher grain prices and higher costs with the wet weather," he said.
"While I think there's a really good opportunity with the market, you've got to have a system and you've got to have the resources to be able to run a fairly large enterprise and that requires either family labour or also some employed labour, which is another challenge.
"Dairy has always been pretty good to us and we see a strong future in it but we probably realise to milk the amount of cows on our farm, we probably need to look at better housing and that's going to cost a bit of money but we reckon we can do a better job and iron out some of the seasonal bumps."
Mr Roderick said for the industry to be sustainable for everyone, the cost of production needed to be reflected at the supermarket predominantly.
"There's been 10 years of inertia with the price and I guess we're going to have to see rapidly increasing prices to make up for it, and it's hard for those retailers because they don't like doing that."
However, Mr Roderick, who is also a director at Dairy Australia, said there was hope on the horizon.
"If we get input prices under control and you've got your labour under control, there's a real opportunity for people to grow production with reduced costs and a really good milk price," he said.
"It's not all negative. I'm looking towards the 2023-24 year as the year that maybe dairy can potentially make some good money and maybe even see some new interest or new investment."
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