Dairy farm­ers say cheers to left­overs

Countryman - - NEWS - Jenne Bram­mer

Left­overs from Fre­man­tle’s Lit­tle Crea­tures are help­ing feed the big crea­tures of one of brew­ery owner Lion’s WA dairy sup­pli­ers.

Through­out Aus­tralia, un­der a by-prod­ucts pro­gram, spent grain from Lion-owned brew­eries has been of­fered to the com­pany’s dairy sup­pli­ers at com­pet­i­tive rates.

That pro­gram was ex­tended to WA in March, with Pin­jarra farmer Tim Clune jump­ing on­board, tak­ing Lit­tle Crea­tures’ en­tire spent grain of 1500 tonnes a year.

Lion agri­cul­tural pro­cure­ment di­rec­tor Mur­ray Jef­frey said the by-prod­uct was pre­vi­ously sold on the open mar­ket to stock­feed sup­pli­ers, but Lion took steps re­cently to en­sure its own farm­ers would take pri­or­ity and could ac­cess the nu­tri­tious, high-en­ergy grain for their stock at a com­pet­i­tive rate.

Mr Jef­frey said the spent grain was highly sought af­ter but the pro­gram was re­stricted by the avail­able vol­umes.

If WA brew­ing ca­pac­ity in­creased sub­stan­tially, fur­ther spent grain could be of­fered to Lion’s other milk sup­pli­ers. Lion is sup­plied in WA by 29 dairy farm­ers, pro­duc­ing 88 mil­lion litres of milk a year.

The Ja­panese-owned com­pany’s $43 mil­lion in­vest­ment in its Bent­ley dairy man­u­fac­tur­ing is on sched­ule for com­ple­tion early next year.

It in­volves mod­ernising the dairy pro­cess­ing plant, as well as a new man­u­fac­tur­ing ca­pa­bil­ity, and a more ef­fi­cient route to mar­ket.

Lion Dairy and Drinks man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Peter West said the re­vamp meant more ef­fi­cient and flex­i­ble lo­gis­tics and dis­tri­bu­tion, in­clud­ing con­sol­i­dat­ing de­pots into a sin­gle WA dis­tri­bu­tion cen­tre at the Bent­ley plant.

“The WA dis­tri­bu­tion cen­tre is al­ready op­er­at­ing and the ware­house op­er­a­tions have been out­sourced to Lin­fox, which has al­lowed the com­pany to take ad­van­tage of their ex­per­tise to drive greater ef­fi­cien­cies around the busi­ness,” Mr West said.

The in­vest­ment in­volved one-way pack­ag­ing tech­nol­ogy and a new fill­ing line to ex­pand man­u­fac­tur­ing ca­pac­ity in milk-based drinks and raise ef­fi­ciency in white milk.

“This will help us meet grow­ing de­mand for brands such as Dare iced cof­fee and also sup­port our plan to grow the WA Mas­ters flavoured milk brand to­gether with our Mas­ters white milk busi­ness,” Mr West said.

Pic­ture: The West Aus­tralian

Dairy farmer Tim Clune has taken Lit­tle Crea­ture’s en­tire spent grain of 1500 tonnes a year.

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