The first milk went through Glanbia’s new dairy facility in Belview last week, during an on schedule dry run for the plant.

Construction commenced on the project in May 17, 2013 and the new facility is expected to begin production in January 2015.

In order to deal with the expected growth in the supply of milk and increased demand for dairy ingredients, Glanbia invested over €150m for the development of the largest dedicated dairy powder facility in Ireland.

The facility, is the first green field investment in the Irish dairy industry since quotas were introduced in 1984.

Glanbia says the Belview production environment is based on the highest automation, hygiene, quality and efficiency standards in the sector operating on a 24 hour year-round production cycle. It says the new facility builds on the latest dairy technology and will have capacity for processing over 700 million litres of milk per annum, with drying capacity of up to 15 tonnes per hour, producing 100,000 tonnes of dairy powders per annum.

Glanbia says the Belview plant will be entirely focused on export markets and will supply a range of nutritional powders to an increasing number of regions including the Middle East, Africa, Central America and Asia.

Glanbia has also said that it enjoys strong commercial relationships, including contract manufacturing with eight other Irish dairy processors. It says this new scalable facility will provide platforms for further collaboration in the industry.

According Glanbia the Belview facility is a significant, strategic development for our business. It says most of all it reflects our confidence in, and commitment to our 4,300 milk suppliers.

It says it will create over 1,600 direct and indirect jobs in the South East and contribute an estimated €400 million per annum to the economy of the 16 surrounding counties.

Glanbia currently markets over 214,000 tonnes of dairy products and ingredients on a business-to-business basis to customers in over 50 countries. With the abolition of EU milk quotas in 2015, GIIL is facing a period of unprecedented growth, it says.