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Te Rapa breaks 200,000 tonne milk powder milestone

Te Rapa breaks 200,000 tonne milk powder milestone

Fonterra's Te Rapa manufacturing site has produced 200,000 metric tonne of milk powder so far this season, a record for dairy manufacturing in New Zealand for one product category in one season.

If constituted into liquid milk, 200,000MT of milk powder would produce approximately 4.5 billion glasses of milk, enough to give every person in New Zealand three glasses of milk a day for a year.

More than 1.5 billion litres of milk was collected from 1800 suppliers across the Waikato region to make up the production figure.

Fonterra Chief Executive Craig Norgate says he is delighted with the milestone result, particularly as it has been achieved against a background of difficult on-farm conditions in the Waikato and around the country.

"Te Rapa makes a large contribution to our business with more than a quarter of our milk powder coming from that operation," says Mr Norgate.

Many of Fonterra's other manufacturing sites are also expected to produce higher volumes this season. At the end of March, Clandeboye in the South Island had produced 106,506 MT of milk powder - 25,000MT more than last season, the Marlborough site had produced 3800 MT of cheese - a 26 per cent increase on last season, and the Kauri plant had produced 16,454 MT of specialty milk powders - an increase of 10,000MT on the previous season.

Mr Norgate says that although the milestone comes from a small increase in milk supply, much of the increased production has come from greater efficiencies at the sites and credit must lie with manufacturing staff.

"They have implemented a number of systems and initiatives that have resulted in cost-savings and efficiencies across the sites, and this has all contributed to achieving improved results," he says.

The Te Rapa site is operated by up to 400 staff, including transport staff, management and administration.

The plant will cease operation for the current season on May 18 and is expected to start production again towards the end of July.

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