Dairy

Social distancing biggest difference at Stanhope milk factory

By Rodney Woods

While a clean factory and personal hygiene are nothing new for Stanhope's Fonterra factory, it is the social distancing that has resulted in the biggest changes.

Fonterra's northern region operations manager Steven Taylor said 10 per cent of the workforce, who are mostly in administrative roles, were now working from home while those on the factory floor were being spaced out 1.5 m apart and wearing face masks where necessary.

Mr Taylor said the Stanhope business was still producing the same amount of product but in a different mix to what would be the norm.

“We cater for three product streams — retail, food service and ingredients,” he said.

“There's been a lot of change between food service and retail — obviously people aren’t eating out anymore and more are eating from home.

“We are producing about the same but in a different mix.

“For example, our shredded mozzarella is being bought through a retail pack rather than a food service pack.

“While takeaway pizza is still available, they (consumers) might be making pizzas from home.”

Despite many dairy farmers leaving the industry in northern Victoria due to high input costs, Mr Taylor said fresh milk supply wasn't an issue.

“The Stanhope factory has recently had significant investment in its cheese lines and we still are producing up to 1.3 million litres a day, which equates to 140 tonne of cheese per day because we can get milk from other areas,” he said.

“We are lucky to be able to meet demand of all kinds of products across our three plants in Victoria.”