The first litres milk are flowing through Fonterra’s newest milk powder plant, as the world’s joint-largest drier comes online in the South Waikato.
The new 30 metric tonne an hour drier at the Lichfield site will be capable of processing 4.4 million litres of milk each day - equivalent to almost two Olympic swimming pools - into milk powder.
As part of the process, three million litres of evaporated water will be collected each day and used around the plant.
The $360 million Lichfield expansion not only includes the drier but infrastructure to support it. A new gas-fired boiler has been built, 119 km of pipes for irrigation installed and a new distribution centre, the size of four rugby fields, constructed.
The bags of milk powder are packed into shipping containers on site and are sent to port by rail.