Fonterra plans two more China farms

ANDREA FOX
Last updated 14:24 02/11/2012

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Fonterra has signed up to develop two more large-scale farms in Hebei Province, China.

New Zealand's biggest company said it had signed an investment agreement with Yutian County to develop the farms, which would complete its first ''hub'' of five farms in Hebei Province in the next step in its strategy to build a high quality, sustainable fresh local milk supply in China.

The two farms, located 120km east of Beijing on a 80 hectares double site, will house around 3350 milking cows each and collectively produce up to 65 million litres of milk a year once fully operational.

Kelvin Wickham, president of Fonterra Greater China and India said the investment was part of Fonterra's strategy to build an integrated local milk pool in China.

"The demand for dairy in China is expected to double by 2020 and much of this growth will be met from local production. We need to build a safe, sustainable local milk supply to feed this growth,'' he said.

Once fully operational, the hub is expected to produce around 150 million litres a year.

 Fonterra intended to build several more farming hubs in throughout China, with the ultimate goal of producing up to 1 billion litres of high quality milk by 2020, Wickham said.

The double site will operate as two farms, with separate 50 bail parallel milking parlours and cow barns.

They would share common facilities such as workshops, feed mixing areas, effluent treatment and staff accommodation to maximise the efficiency of the operation.

Nicola Morris, general manager of Fonterra China Farms said the herd will be made up of China-born cows bred on Fonterra's other farms and supplemented by around 4300 cows shipped from New Zealand.

"The right people are critical to the success of our farming operations in China. We will be utilising the great farming and animal husbandry talent that we have developed on our existing farms, to make up the 175-strong workforce we need to employ locally.

"We have a very well established training and development programme across our farming businesses in China which is helping to feed the talent pool needed to manage these farms to Fonterra's high standards."

Construction will commence next month and the farm is expected to open in October next year.

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- BusinessDay.co.nz

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