Clearly, there is still huge growth in New Zealand milk and cheese despite the recession… Over $200m is currently being spent by Fonterra on a new dairy factory in the South Island. Just between you, me and the cows; the new NZ dairy plant is rumoured to be the world’s biggest ever factory.

Fonterra’s Edendale factory in Southland will soon be the world’s largest dairy processing site, reports The Otago Daily Times.

A NZ$212 million project to add a fourth milk drier to the plant is scheduled to be finished on September 1 and will make the plant capable of processing 15 million litres of milk a day.

Project manager Dean Shilvock said the new drier could produce 27 tonnes of milk powder an hour, or 150,000 tonnes a season, and would work alongside three smaller driers at the site, one handling seven tonnes an hour and two 14 tonnes an hour. Next season, the new drier is expected to process 620 million litres of milk into regular UHT and instant whole milk powder.

Shilvock said Edendale’s extra capacity was needed to handle projected milk growth in the South Island by 2012-13, but in the meantime it would process surplus milk from the company’s Clandeboye plant near Timaru. It also took milk from Clandeboye last season. Between 400 and 450 contractors from throughout New Zealand have been building the new drier, as well as a new boiler, a 120m by 60m new dry store and upgraded wastewater system.

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