The future of Guernsey Dairy

Guernsey Dairy Cattle Istock 1131274705

NIRAS has carried out a detailed review of options for a new or refurbished dairy in Guernsey, including development of a conceptual design, layout plans and cost estimates. Guernsey Dairy has a special position in the local community, both for farmers and consumers on the island.

December 16, 2022
  • SECTORS: Food & Beverage
  • COUNTRIES: United Kingdom
  • CLIENT: Guernsey Dairy

The current Guernsey Dairy was commissioned in 1951 and was last subject to a major refurbishment in 1989. Since then, minor upgrade work and periodic replacement of process plant and equipment has taken place, but the facilities are now deemed to have reached the end of their useful operational life.

The current configuration of the present site as well as the existing buildings are considered limiting factors in the business’ ability to adapt to the needs of a modern-day dairy and thereby benefit from the efficiencies and savings that a purpose-built facility could generate.

NIRAS’s technical study detailed the complete process needed to bring about the concept design and associated CAPEX and OPEX for a new dairy containing the latest technology.

The NIRAS team included on-island quantity surveyor and architectural support, with management consultant support from experts in Denmark that have extensive experience of designing and building dairies around the world. This was supplemented with dairy process design knowledge from within the UK.

Establishing a suitable future product mix

The first objective was to establish a suitable future product mix that would both maximise operating margins and minimise waste.

An important aspect was to understand the very specific local circumstances surrounding Guernsey’s dairy farming industry, which involved working with public and private sector partners over several months to gather information and share ideas.

Once the product mix had been agreed it was possible to consider the process equipment and supporting infrastructure required to produce the products. The building envelope and resources required to operate the facility could then be established. 

Local insight helped inform CAPEX and OPEX estimates

Support from on-island consultants enabled NIRAS to compile a robust estimate of CAPEX costs based on local knowledge, including all structures and equipment and associated project management and other costs. OPEX costs based on the established resource requirements were identified along with potential efficiency savings that may be realised.  

For comparison, similar estimates were developed for a full refurbishment of the existing dairy and were found to be higher. This also identified that the constraints of the current site would not enable all the efficiency savings associated with a new build to be realised. This option was therefore discounted.

The local importance of Guernsey Dairy

Guernsey is the second largest of the Channel Islands, and milk production is its primary  agricultural activity. Guernsey Dairy is the island’s only processing facility and is legally obligated to purchase all the raw cow’s milk from the 12 local dairy farms, with annual production of some 7.6 million litres.

The dairy has a special position in the local community, both economically and as supplier of fresh dairy products to the population of 63,000. The direct economic benefit of the local dairy farming industry has been calculated at £2.8m per annum, and its activities help sustain the island’s rural environment, farming economy and the Guernsey Cattle Breed.

Securing high quality dairy products

NIRAS provided a consultancy service that balanced the commercial role, economic responsibilities and the cultural heritage that Guernsey Dairy holds within the local community.

This work will help the island Government to assess the potential options for a new facility and in deciding the way forward for the local dairy industry. 

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Get in touch

Mark Eccleston

Mark Eccleston

Head of Department

Ascot, United Kingdom

+44 7885 557199

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