4 Sep 2014

Better position to cope with milk peak

5:10 pm on 4 September 2014

Fonterra says it's in a much better position this season to cope with the milk flow as it prepares for an expected bumper peak milk period late next month.

Last season the company was forced to dump some lesser-value products, such as butter milk when its factories couldn't handle supply at peak times.

Fonterra said by the peak in late October a tanker will collect milk from a farm every nine seconds and there is the potential to reach more than 90-million litres collected in a single day.

Managing Director of Global Operations Robert Spurway said to handle expected higher loadings this season, Fonterra had invested in more than 50 capital and enhancement projects at various plants.

One of these is a milk concentration plant at Longburn in Manawatu.

"That allows us to more effectively move milk from the North Island to the South Island, making the most of the extra capacity we've got in the South Island and also the fact that the milk flush is later than it is in the North Island."

"There's also a number of other projects we've completed that increase the capacity of our plants, and of course since last year, we've also got our UHT plant at Waitoa up and running."

But Mr Spurway said Fonterra may still have to look at disposing of some lower-value by-products during the peak.

"We're very confident that if we do have to dispose of small amounts of by-products this year, that we'll be able to do that in a very sustainable way," he said.

"We've got all the consents we require, and any small volumes we'll be feeding first of all to calves and pig farmers and any remaining products we'll be able to dispose of by irrigation to land."

Mr Spurway said the co-op is expecting some growth in the amount of milk collected this season, but it is too early to put a figure on it, as it depends on weather conditions.

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