The Waikato dairy landscape looks set to get more crowded after confirmation from Synlait that it will be commissioning a new factory in Pokeno for the 2019-20 season.
The $250 million factory in north Waikato would produce 45,000 tonnes of infant-grade skim milk, whole milk and infant formula base powders.
Synlait chief executive John Penno said the South Island-based company had the capital required to fund the programme .
“Our immediate focus is on establishing the nutritional spray dryer and associated services, including a wetmix kitchen and warehousing.
“But additional capacity and capabilities may be added in future as Synlait seeks to develop the site to a similar level as Synlait’s Dunsandel site over time.”
Penno said Synlait had obtained the necessary resource consents to build the factory and construction was set to being in a few weeks.
He said the new factory would provide 50-70 jobs. While it would initially have a single spray dryer, there was scope for it to expand over time if there was sufficient demand.
Initially, the Pokeno site will produce infant-grade ingredients while regulatory registration is obtained for infant formula base powder production. Penno said there was no plans to include lactoferrin in the product mix.
Earlier this month, Synlait increased its milk price for the 2017-2018 season by 15 cents to $6.65 kg milk solids and announced a new season opening forecast of $7/kg, the same as Fonterra’s milk price.
Milk supply will be sourced from Waikato from June next year and Synlait will grow its A2 milk and Lead With Pride programmes through new suppliers.
The factory would look to secure supply from 80-100 farmers. Penno believed such a small number would not impact on the supply base of larger dairy operators, such as Fonterra.
“We don’t need a large number of farmers and we’re very particular of the farmers we want to get.”
Synlait milk supply manager David Williams said they had received a positive response from dairy farmers looking to supply Synlait.
”We’re confident of securing sufficient milk for the 2019/2020 season.”
“This was reinforced with our presence at Fieldays at Mystery Creek last week. It was great to meet a number of passionate dairy farmers who are serious about doing more with their milk and adding value on farm, which is exactly what we do,” Williams said.
By: GERALD PIDDOCK