Fonterra has announced that the first bags of whole milk powder have rolled off the production line at its new $200 million (€132 million) manufacturing site near Darfield in Canterbury, New Zealand and are bound for South East Asia, China and the Middle East.
“It has taken less than two years to bring the project together and it is a significant achievement for us and good news for Canterbury and the wider Christchurch rebuild,” said Brent Taylor, Director of Operations – NZ Milk, noting that the new plant produced 40 metric tonnes of product in its first full day of operations.
“More than 1,500 people have been involved in construction of the first drier and all their hard work has paid off.”
With an annual growth rate of around 5-6%, Canterbury is New Zealand’s fastest growing region for dairy, according to Fonterra.
“The total investement in Darfield across Stage One and Two is $500 million and we see a strong future in Central Canterbury,” said Taylor.
Fonterra said that Darfield will play an important part in its strategy to optimise the New Zealand milk business.
“We collect milk from our farmers, who are among the best in the world at turning green grass into fresh milk, and turn it into high quality product with world-class efficiency.”
Darfield is Fonterra’s first new site in 14 years.
“The drier has been built by GEA Process Engineering to produce 15MT per hour but, once installed, we add our own intellectual property rights – call it our x-factor,” continued Taylor.
“This helps keep our farmer-shareholders internationally competitive and is aimed at driving more value their way.”
At peak capacity, Darfield Drier 1 will convert about 2.2 million litres of milk per day into 370MT of whole milk powder. Stage Two includes extension of the site’s dry store as well as the commissioning of a second 30MT per hour milk drier – Darfield Drier 2 – which will triple the site’s capacity.