Plan for organic and powder plants

ONE of Australia’s largest dairy farms, Van Dairy Ltd at Circular Head, plans to invest about $30 million on processing plants for organic milk and milk powder for the domestic and global market.

Van Dairy owner and managing director Xianfeng Lu said this week he wants to build a factory to process the milk powder, including milk baby formula, to meet a strong worldwide demand.

A proposal for the milk processing plant at Somerset has been put to the Tasmanian Dairy Industry Authority.

The company is also looking at introducing a processing plant for organic milk at Woolnorth.

The projects could lead to an extra 95 jobs.

“We plan to spend between $20 and $30 million on these projects once development application approvals are granted and finalised,” Mr Lu said.

Van Dairy has continued a long-standing relationship with milk processor Fonterra and will continue supplying milk from the historic Woolnorth property to Fonterra.

Van Dairy has also converted part of the Woolnorth property to a certified organic dairy and is now supplying Fonterra with fresh organic milk.

Last year, with a herd reduced to 11,500 cows on 17,000ha, Van Dairy produced 85 million litres of milk and 6.8 million of milk solids, which was almost 10 per cent of the state’s record 961 million litres of milk production.

The company generated more than $48 million in revenue. Annual rainfall in the region is about 1000mm and the average annual temperature about 12C.

In the past year the company has spent $15 million on wages, employing 140 people in the district, also another $15 million on suppliers and contractors making it one of the largest and most significant economic contributors in Circular Head.

“I am committed to creating a world-leading, environment best practice and vertically integrated dairy operation showcasing the Tasmanian brand,” Mr Lu said.

Canadian dairy giant Saputo operates a milk processing plant at Smithton, which provides exports particularly the Middle East.

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