First milk for dairy plant

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Oceania Dairy’s new $214 million Glenavy milk processing plant received its first intake of milk from South Canterbury and North Otago farmers yesterday.

The milk will be used for the next stages of the plant commissioning as the 14-month construction programme draws to its conclusion.

The initial plant testing has been completed using water. The final six weeks of commissioning and performance testing will now be undertaken with milk before the final handover of the factory from construction to production by the middle of September.

“This is a landmark day for Oceania Dairy Limited, for our supply farmers and for the district,” said Aidan Johnstone, chief executive officer for Oceania Dairy.

“The factory represents a significant investment by Oceania’s owners, Yili, that will have an ongoing impact on the rural economy of the region.

“The first intake of milk at the factory is a real milestone in the evolution of the dairy industry in the region,” he said.

Forty-eight suppliers have signed contracts with Oceania for the supply of 170 million litres in the 2014-15 season. At full capacity, the Glenavy processing plant will be capable of processing 300 million litres of milk per year, generating 47,000 tonnes of milk powder.

All contracted suppliers are scheduled to be delivering milk to Oceania Dairy by the third week of August and milk production is expected to peak for the season near the end of October.

Oceania Dairy’s staff numbers at the Glenavy factory site have reached 65 as the company moves into the commissioning and testing process.

PHOTO: SUPPLIED – Glenavy dairy farmers Wilma and Aad Van Leeuwen were one of the first suppliers to send milk to the new processing plant at Glenavy yesterday.  Oceania Dairy will now undertake the final six weeks of commissioning and performance testing.