Why we can't ignore the true cost of $1 a litre milk

OUR SAY: As consumers, it's easy to be oblivious to the true cost of $1 a litre milk.

But as a farmer, the cost is a livelihood which has forced generational producers to close and put at risk an industry which once thrived.

The Darling Downs has about 150 dairy farmers left and statewide, the 420 remaining producers can produce just 70 per cent of Queensland's milk supply.

The industry has been in decline since 2000 but was further gutted when the milk price wars hit home in 2011, and raged on ever since.

Now China and its massive demand for a quality product could bring a revival to the industry but it won't be without major investment in the sector.

The 300,000 litre a day fresh milk export figure, based on the current industry numbers, is not viable and puts further pressure on the already at-risk domestic supply.

But a market exists which has shown it is willing to pay $19 a litre for milk produced right here on our doorstep.

It's a leap of faith for our farmers to get on board the China market demand, but the Asian centre is increasingly within reach with Wellcamp airport and big business willing to back the milk export industry.

China wants a safe product, our dairy farmers want a safe industry, and we, as consumers, have to want more than just a cheap bottle of milk or it will end up costing us more in the long term.