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Asia Pacific: Fonterra turns dairy waste into fertilizer

New wastewater treatment technology at Fonterra’s Edendale site is turning dairy waste into fertilizer that is helping local pastures flourish.

The site has created a fertilizer product from the microbial treatment of wastewater.

Tests show the treatment creates some of the most nutrient rich dairy-derived fertilizer in the country that is proving a hit with farmers.

“Our manufacturing process produces wastewater that contains dairy solids,” said environmental manager Ian Goldschmidt.

“We use microbes to consume those solids which in turn produce a dense liquid.”

“Thanks to new technology in the plant we are now able to decant that liquid into a rich fertilizer that is producing exceptional results on pasture.”

The sophisticated plant technology – which is also being used at Fonterra’s Stirling, Pahiatua and Lichfield sites – is helping deliver on the Co-operative’s sustainability commitments.

“Since the upgrade, the quality of the product we’re making has seen demand take off and farmers are coming to us directly to put their names on the list,” he said.

The fertilizer is one of three products that are made at the wastewater plant that benefit local farmers.

Fonterra is working with new technology to turn the other by-product into stock food and the increased capacity of the new wastewater storage pond enables the co-operative to return as much water as possible to the land through irrigation.