Milk flows through Lich­field plant

South Waikato News - - Farming -

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.

SUPPLIED

Fon­terra staff take a look at the new high­ef­fi­ciency milk evap­o­ra­tion area at Fon­terra’s Lich­field plant.

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