Fonterra, one of New Zealand's largest dairy co-ops, recently opened a new farming hub which is capable of farming up to 30,000 cows, in Ying County in Eastern China.

Once fully operational, the hub will farm up to 30,000 cows, of which 16,000 will be milking cows, New Zealand's Food Safety Minister, Jo Goodhew, said.

"Across the Hub’s three farms almost 400 local people have been employed and around 85% of the farm feed is sourced locally.

“All of this work represents a massive opportunity to boost the local economy and enable important social development outcomes,” Minister Goodhew said.

Opening of the hub complements other activity in the area, according to the New Zealand minister, that will boost local capability and the local economy.

As a result of Fonterra’s farmer training programme in collaboration with the Chinese government and farming industry, more than 1,000 local farmers have been trained in areas such as modern scale farming management, cattle breeding and disease control.

Fonterra In China

Earlier this year, at the announcement of its interim results, Fonterra said that it's goal is to be producing one billion litres every year in China by 2018.

The co-op said that it currently has two farms milking in the Hebei Province near Beijing and another three under development, which led the co-op to say that it’s on the right track.

The New Zealand dairy co-op built its first farm, Tangshan Fonterra Farm, in 2007 as a pilot, to see if the co-op could produce New Zealand standard milk, locally.

Since then, the herd has doubled in size and the average production per cow has increased by 30%, it says.

Today, the farm is producing around 28m litres of the country’s highest quality milk every year.

The plan is that when complete, these farms will milk about 15,000 cows and produce 150m litres of fresh milk every year, right on the doorstep of Beijing. Fonterra aims to have 1 billion litres of milk coming from its farms by the end of 2018.

Herds on the Fonterra farms in China are housed in barns and milked three times a day, with the average cow produces around 34L of milk a day.

Chinese consumption, Fonterra maintains will double over the next eight years and it intends to be in a position to supply that demand.