Mary Valley dairy takes giant leap with $1.2m factory
MARY Valley dairy mogul John Cochrane is leading the charge for the industry’s resurrection, putting his own brand of self-bottled milk on the market from today.
Mr Cochrane, who bought Kenilworth Dairies in 2017, is stepping into the market thanks to a new $1.2 million plant built with funding help from the State Government.
The facility is capable of pushing through 6000 bottles of milk every hour.
The first bottles will be available at Kenilworth; Mr Cochrane said his eye was on Gympie and the Sunshine Coast hopefully next month, and then as far as he could reach.
Adding to the occasion was that the bottles’ first day on the retail shelf coincides with the anniversary of his father’s death, he said.
“He was a dairy farmer all his life,” Mr Cochrane said.
The plant would also boost other parts of the economy; he said about 20 jobs would be needed to make it work, including across the bottling lines and driving trucks.
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Bottled milk is the latest venture for Kenilworth Dairies, which has grown on the back of a range of successful, award winning cheese, yoghurt and dessert products.
The milk will be initially supplied by three of Mr Cochrane’s dairy farms, but a boost is coming in the form of two ex-dairy farmers restarting at Kenilworth and Skyring Creek in the coming months.
Mr Cochrane hoped to have the bottled milk made available in other markets next month.
He told the ABC this week it had been difficult to watch the slow death of Queensland’s dairy industry over the years.
“To see fully grown men crying as their cows go — forced out of the industry — that is very sad, especially when you know that 600 million litres of milk is being sold in Queensland (a year) and we produce less than 290 million of that,” he told the ABC.
““Times are really tough, especially with COVID-19, and people need to be able to buy what they can buy at the right price. I fully understand that — but then there’s a group of people who are prepared to pay for quality, local fresh milk, so it is almost splitting into two industries.”