As the new state-of-the-art mozzarella line becomes fully operational at its Jervois factory, Beston Global Foods is seeking more milk from farmers.
This is the first year Beston has expanded to source milk from outside the four farms it owns, which are based in the South East.
Beston dairy general manager Daniel Raschalla said they were accessing about 90 million litres of milk for its Murray Bridge and Jervois factories, to produce about 12,000 tonnes to 14,000t of cheese.
Of that, 20mL is sourced from their own farms, with the remainder from contracted milk suppliers.
He said next year, they would be targeting 140mL.
Speaking at the inaugural farmers appreciation day at the Jervois factory on Monday, Beston chairman Roger Sexton said the company had spent about $26.5m updating the site and would be looking for more milk in the coming season.
Beston bought the Jervois factory, along with the Murray Bridge site, in mid-2015 after former owners United Dairy Power went into receivership.
They were able to resume manufacturing powdered milk and protein at the Jervois site, using whey from Murray Bridge, but the mozzarella line had been sold to Murray Goulburn by administrators.
Since then, the company had been working to rebuild the line, importing the plant from Italy and fully reconstructing the cheese room.
Dr Sexton said he believed the environmentally-friendly machine was the best in Australia.
The steam-injected plant will enable them to vary moisture while also severely reducing waste water.
Mozzarella production restarted at the Jervois site on February 14 and has been building since to become fully-operational.
Mr Raschalla said their focus was on quality to avoid simply being a commodity.
“We expect to be the best commercial mozzarella producer in Australia,” he said.
“We’ve got a team and equipment that we believe can help us.
“We believe it is already as good as what is in the market.”
Mr Raschalla said most of the factory team had been retained, allowing them to make use of existing skills.
Dr Sexton said the company had already set a high standard with its Edwards Crossings Cheese claiming 28 silver and gold medals in competitions since 2015, including best cheddar cheese in Australia at the Dairy Industry Association of Australia awards.
Mr Raschalla said an important part of maintaining this quality was working closely with farmers.
“The better the solids, the better the cheese we can produce,” he said.
He said they had suppliers in the Mid North, across the central dairy region, and in the South East, as well as their own farms.
All Beston’s milk is sourced in SA.
The farmers appreciation day was part of building these relationships with the suppliers.
Farmers were able to taste Beston cheese products, and could take a tour of the new mozzarella line to see where their milk was used.