Fonterra opens hub for China, invests in Tasmania

By Jim Cornall contact

- Last updated on GMT

Fonterra's Lichfield plant is now operational, and expected to be at full capacity within a week. The company is also investing in its Australian and Chinese operations.
Fonterra's Lichfield plant is now operational, and expected to be at full capacity within a week. The company is also investing in its Australian and Chinese operations.

Related tags: Milk

New Zealand’s Food Safety Minister Jo Goodhew has welcomed the opening of the Fonterra Ying Hub in Ying County, Shuozhou City, Shanxi Province, China.

Once fully operational, the hub – which Goodhew said represents a significant investment in China by Fonterra – will farm up to 30,000 cows, of which 16,000 will be milking cows.

“Across the hub’s three farms, almost 400 local people have been employed and around 85% of the farm feed is sourced locally,”​ Goodhew said.

She also noted that more than 1,000 local farmers have been trained in subjects such as modern scale farming management, cattle breeding and disease control.

Investment in Tasmania

In addition to China, Fonterra Australia is continuing to expand, with a A$4.3m ($3.3m) investment to boost cheese and whey capacity at its Wynyard plant in Tasmania.

The investment will increase the plant’s cheesemaking capacity by 8,000 MT per annum by optimizing all steps of the process.

Fonterra Australia regional operations manager south, Steve Taylor, said that Tasmania is an important region for Fonterra and its multi-hub strategy.

The Wynyard plant has been running at full capacity since a fire destroyed Fonterra’s cheese plant at Stanhope, Victoria, in December 2014.

The Wynyard expansion will see Fonterra’s total Australian cheese production increase by 50% once the Stanhope plant is commissioned in mid-2017.

Milk flowing at Lichfield powder plant

In New Zealand, the first Waikato-farmed milk is flowing through Fonterra’s newest milk powder plant.

The new 30 MT an hour dryer at the cooperative’s Lichfield site will be capable of processing an additional 4.4m liters of milk each day into milk powder for global markets.

Fonterra’s COO Robert Spurway said that premium milk powder is a valuable product for Fonterra.

“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,” ​he said.

“Our goal is to strike a balance in our assets that enables us to switch between products quickly to meet demand changes in global markets, push the pace on production when milk volumes dictate, and ultimately deliver the best product mix to generate returns,”​ Spurway added.

The new dryer is expected to be running at full capacity in the next week, providing dairy nutrition to more than 20 markets around the world.

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