Zenith Award winner profiles – B.-d. Farm Paris Creek

On June 11, PACE held its annual Zenith Awards. B.-d. Farm Paris Creek was the winner in the Food and Beverage category.

The company is one of Australia’s finest producers of award winning, certified organic dairy products, including milks, yogurts, Quarks, butter, soft cheeses and hard cheeses.

For years, the company has constantly been increasing production, processes, productivity, and environmental sustainability and at the same time has been decreasing its environmental carbon footprint, the impact on waterways and air-pollution.

On the farms it maintains a sustainable environment, with biodynamic farming methods as the basis for this: no artificial fertilisers are used and no chemical treatment is used on soil, animals or crops.

Not just an advanced manufacturer, B.-d. Farm Paris Creek also employs advanced agricultural techniques in its business.

“I would say in our farming system, biodynamic farming is one of the most advanced farming methods,” Ulli Spranz, the company’s managing director, told Manufacturers’ Monthly after receiving the award.

“[And] I would call us an advanced manufacturer because we are using the most modern technology in what we are doing, in producing our dairy products: cheese and milk and yoghurt and butter.

“And we are always looking for the most modern technology to keep the healthiness in the products, to keep them as natural as possible.”

B.-d. Farm Paris Creek is located in Meadows, South Australia, between Adelaide Hills and Fleurieu Peninsula. The original farm was purchased by Ulli and Helmut Spranz who immigrated from Germany, in 1988. It took in 165 acres and 40 milkers.

Ulli and Helmut have worked for more than 27 years educating consumers, farmers and processors to understand the impact of chemical farming on the

land, extensive water usage on farms and the impact of chemically induced waste water from processing to the environment.

They have made improvement after improvement to the site since 1988. The farm was immediately conversed to biodynamic-organic farming principles and set up of liquid composting plant utilising dairy waste/water.

To them, it was clear that biodynamic farming was the only sustainable way of farming to support preservation of the environment for future generations, they said in their entry.

“[Eliminating] fresh/ground water pollution, nurturing the soil with ‘biodynamic preparations’, free of chemical input such as artificial fertilisers, fungicides, pesticides, no drenching, no GMs, no antibiotics, no hormones,” was the only way to go, the company’s Endeavours nomination told us.

The business was incorporated in 1995, and a state-of-the-art processing facility built to further increase production for steadily, Coles, Woolworths, interstate and exporting.

A cheese factory was added in 2007 to produce European soft and hard cheeses to balance milk over-production.

The energy efficiency project started in 2012, with an energy monitoring system installed and energy audit conducted. In the next year a new dairy farm was purchased to further increase milk production

The following year a Clean Technology Investment Program Grant was received and a photovoltaic solar system was installed (100kw electricity production).

A 250kw hot water solar system was installed in March 2014, and an energy saving flexi line pasteuriser installed (with optional ESL/homogenizing/pasteurising) in April.

What was involved in successfully making so many significant upgrades?

“Doing research, research, research,” explained Spranz, who said Australian businesses needed to look far and wide when considering the most effective way to invest.

“We travelled overseas. We looked at what other companies are doing. And we then picked the methods that fit us most.

“We have achieved over 30 per cent of energy savings. It was only possible because we looked worldwide for the best systems available for what we are doing. Because in manufacturing you can’t have downtime, so it needs to work every day – that’s very important. And we have done a very, very long research [program] over two years to then decide what we set up.”

At B.-d. Farm, work on a multi-million dollar, fully integrated ESL (extended shelf-life) project has begun. A filling line for fresh milk production and bottling and new aseptic yogurt filling line will be integrated and connected to the solar system, with plans to double milk production by 2016 with minimal increased impact on fossil fuelled energy usage.

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