The major cross border dairy processing co-operative Lakeland Dairies has started work on a new £27 million expansion of milk powder processing operations at Bailieboro, Co Cavan.
Lakeland Dairies collects freshly produced milk from local dairy farms across 15 counties north and south.
The expansion of our operations at Bailieboro will create further advantages for all of our milk producers north and south.Lakeland Dairies’ Group CEO Michael Hanley
The farmer owned dairy co-operative also operates a flagship dairy foodservice manufacturing plant at Newtownards where it has completed a new £8m global logistics and distribution centre.
The expansion is designed to meet increasing global dairy demand and expanded milk production in the years ahead.
Lakeland currently produces 80,000 tonnes of milk powders a year and this will rise to 130,000 tonnes on completion of the project in 2016.
The co-operative also produces 24,000 tonnes of butter on the same site which provides for considerable flexibility in milk throughput and overall economies of scale for the food ingredients business.
The Bailieboro expansion will see the installation of a new and technologically advanced 7 tonne per hour milk drying facility.
This will increase total milk powder production capacity to 19 tonnes per hour at Lakeland Dairies.
The first sod for the new development was turned recently by Irish Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton with Lakeland Dairies CEO Michael Hanley and chairman, Alo Duffy.
Lakeland Dairies’ chairman, Alo Duffy said: “Lakeland Dairies is focussed on the creation of a bright and sustainable future for all of our milk producers.
“This includes investments in modern and streamlined plants which guarantee an expanded milk processing capacity and will provide the flexibility to meet global market needs.”
Lakeland Dairies’ Group CEO Michael Hanley said: “Growth in our global dairy ingredients business is being fuelled by consumer trends and developments in food industry sectors where we have access to key markets and customers throughout the world.
“Over the past five years we have transformed our processing capabilities and have also underpinned our future export potential with new global logistics facilities in Newtownards.
“The expansion of our operations at Bailieboro will create further advantages for all of our milk producers north and south.
“In particular, we see continuing opportunity in the areas of infant formulae, dairy proteins and health related nutritional products, among other categories, where we are a globally recognised leading supplier of the highest quality milk powders.”
The overall development will lead to the creation of 81 jobs across the Lakeland Dairies Group over a five year period.
Up to 180 construction jobs will also be created by contractors during the building, installation and commissioning phases for the new processing facilities.
The investment is supported by development agency Enterprise Ireland.
One of Ireland’s leading farmer owned dairy processing co-operatives, Lakeland Dairies processes over 800 million litres of farm produced milk annually into a wide range of value-added dairy foodservice products and food ingredients which it exports to over 70 countries worldwide.
Following the abolition of EU milk quotas in April, annual milk supply to Lakeland Dairies is expected to increase by some 40% to over 1 billion litres by 2020.
The development by Lakeland Dairies is designed to ensure that the co-operative is well positioned to take advantage of all future market opportunities for its milk producers.