Fonterra: Technological Study of Farm Milk Collection (2022-23)

Technological Study of Farm Milk Collection (2022-23)

This project is proudly funded and supported by Gardiner Dairy Foundation

Description of the project:

Milk collection is often perceived as the most challenging link in the dairy farming supply chain. Our Tanker Operators are the face of Fonterra at the farm-gate and on the road – with safety, customer service and quality at the forefront, it’s their role to get our milk from farm to factory. Our drivers are supported by the broader Farm Milk Collection (FMC) team who manage many complexities that come with scheduling milk collection from our farmer networks right across Victoria, Tasmania and further afield.

The capture of dairy farm and truck fleet performance data is integral for monitoring important aspects such as Collection in Full On Time (CIFOT) – the successful collection of ALL milk within the pick-up window allocated – to maximise milk quality, be financially sustainable and deliver outstanding customer service.

CIFOT is an integral measure of truck performance (schedule performance) against a farm collection window requirement. Fonterra believes there are opportunities to improve FMC financial performance without compromising on CIFOT performance. Furthermore, a recent small trial on vat based monitoring systems has indicated further investigations are worth pursuing.

Technology is evolving and has the capability to influence better FMC outcomes for aspects such as collection times, collection windows, robotic milking, and food safety and regulatory compliance. The technology study will focus on two project areas:
- Live Vat telemetry trial (vat based monitoring systems); and
- CIFOT Sensitivity Analysis to review CIFOT influencers such as cost of collection versus distance from factory, cost of planned diversion from nearest factory, vat surveys versus milk production volumes.

The MITI team will have the opportunity to learn about all aspects of Farm Milk Collection from farm-gate to factory and identify options for enhancing technological solutions to optimise runs, protect milk quality, improve environmental footprint and provide a better service for farmers. Aspects of the project will include going on-farm, understanding how collection works, and delving into the data in the back-end that pulls it all together.

Fonterra is a global, co-operatively-owned company. Outside of NZ, the Australian business is one of our largest, operating 8 manufacturing sites and employing over 1,800 people in order to provide Australians with the great-tasting dairy brands they know and love.
Milk collected from more than 1300 dairy farms is processed across our Victorian and Tasmanian network to produce world class dairy products for Australian and international markets.