When 14-year-old Lincoln High School student Rosa Macaulay was asked to write story about her favourite room, instead of choosing her bedroom like most 14-year-old girls, she chose her grandfather’s sheep yards.
The $50m dryer started production in July and is a commercial partnership between a Park subsidiary and three other investment partners.
The new spray dryer sits alongside the existing Food Waikato dryer completed in 2012 and has 2.4 times the capacity of the older dryer at 1.2 tonnes of powder/hour.
Waikato Innovation Park chief executive Stuart Gordon says the dryer will meet the burgeoning demand for sheep milk products, with the industry aiming to double in size year-on-year for the next three years. The new spray dryer is tailored to the unique requirements of sheep milk.
“This development is a real breakthrough for the sheep milk industry.
“With the existing dryer producing $50 million in exports per year, we’re predicting that the new dryer will produce a further $200 million annually in export products,” says Gordon.
Labour leader Jacinda Ardern visited the new dryer last week while on a campaign tour of Waikato.
Gordon says construction is also moving forward rapidly on the Innovation Park’s expansion, which will see the Park’s physical infrastructure extend its size by more than 30%, adding more than 2900sqm to the business and technology hub.
With the roof set to complete on October 2021, Gordon says the new building is already filling up with tenants and is expected to be fully operational by the end of April 2021.
During her visit, Ardern also visited several tenants including biotechnology company Quantec. Specialising in identifying and extracting high-performance bioactives from natural products, Quantec develops and markets proprietary ingredient formulations for human and animal health applications.
Quantec discovered and patented Immune Defense Proteins, or IDP, a novel milk fraction which has proven antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties.
“It’s great to have the Prime Minister back here in her home region, to show her the thriving technology hub that is the Waikato, and this Park,” says Gordon.