29 Jul 2008

NZ's newest dairy factory to begin processing milk

4:27 pm on 29 July 2008

The country's newest dairy factory will process its first milk by the end of this week.

Synlait's plant at Dunsandel in Canterbury will have the capacity to process up to 1.6 million litres of milk a day, into a range of high value powders and other dairy ingredients for export to Asia, the United States and the Middle East.

Synlait has been operating as an independent dairy exporter for three years, with milk supplied by its own farms, as well as other farms in the Canterbury area.

Up until now it's had to have its milk processed by other companies, Fonterra and Westland Milk Products.

But Synlait Milk's general manager, John Roberts, says with its own plant about to come on stream it will be starting the new season with significantly increased production.

He says Synlait farms have about 45% increased volume this coming season, plus it contracts a number of farmers and also buys in some milk.

He says the first day they are expecting about 100,000 litres, but as the cows calve and start producing more milk, it's expected to get up to a million litres a day by the end of August.

Mr Roberts says about a quarter of the milk contracted to Synlait will be coming from newly converted dairy farms.

He says Synlait Farms Limited has about 15,000 cows this year on about 16 farms within a 30km radius of the plant.

Mr Roberts says the farmers who are contracted are up to 80km away from the plant, but most are within 50km of the plant.