Milk flows through Lichfield plant
The first litres of Waikato-farmed milk are flowing through Fonterra’s newest highefficiency milk powder plant as the world’s joint-largest dryer comes online in the South Waikato.
The new 30 metric tonne an hour dryer at the co-operative’s Lichfield site will be capable of processing an additional 4.4 million litres of milk each day.
That volume would be the equivalent to almost two Olympic swimming pools, into milk powder for global markets.
Fonterra chief operating Officer Robert Spurway said large scale dryers such as this played a key role in driving value for the business.
‘‘Premium milk powder is a valuable product for Fonterra in its own right, but people often underestimate the strategic importance of powder production to the cooperative’s overall asset mix,’’ he said.
‘‘The capacity these assets give us takes the pressure off during the peak of the season, meaning we have more freedom to prioritise milk into higher returning products.’’
South Waikato Operations manager Sam Mikaere said opening the new dryer was the culmination of more than two years of focus and effort from teams around the world.
The dryer is supported by a new distribution centre and a sophisticated wastewater treatment plant.
The distribution centre has the capacity to store 40,000 metric tonnes of whole milk powder.
That milk powder is then loaded into containers and shipped directly to port via an in-built rail siding. This provides cost effective infrastructure and helps reduce the number of trucks on road.
The new biological wastewater treatment plant is capable of turning dairy waste into fertiliser.
This fertiliser is then used to irrigate the neighbouring farmland.
Fonterra staff take a look at the new highefficiency milk evaporation area at Fonterra’s Lichfield plant.