The Union Dairy Company (UDC)

In December 2014 The Midfield Group purchased the former Safries factory and site located near Penola, in South Australia. Since then The Midfield Group has undertaken significant investment to refurbish and upgrade the plant for storage of frozen and fresh product, as well as beginning construction of a new milk processing plant on the site. The plant will create more than 40 direct ongoing jobs and significant indirect jobs, in addition to being an outstanding opportunity for dairy farmers to supply raw milk for processing. There will be a further 60 to 80 jobs created during the 16-month construction period.

What is proposed?

In July 2015, The Midfield Group received development application approval from the Wattle Range Council, to establish a new state-of-the-art Coonawarra milk processing facility on the site.  The new processing facility will convert local milk into powdered milk, mainly for the export market.

The site continues to support the local horticultural industry for the storage of potatoes and now provides frozen storage facilities, since a recent multi-million dollar plant refurbishment was completed.


Who is The Midfield Group?

The Midfield Group is a family owned Australian food and farming company established in 1975. Based in Warrnambool and employing more than 1500 people, it is a diverse company with multiple divisions including a busy processing plant, transport and trades arms, export, marketing and administration sectors, as well as multiple pastoral properties and a retail outlet.

The Midfield Group is a major contributor to the domestic and export market, with its beef, lamb, veal, mutton and their by-products traversing Australia and the globe on a daily basis. More than 80 countries throughout the world import Midfield’s quality product, which is sourced largely from local farmers and the company’s extensive pastoral operations. The company’s diversity and vibrant workforce allow Midfield to have control of its product from paddock to plate, with the company’s many divisions working together to cover all aspects of the development process.

Midfield has offices throughout Australia and also in Dubai, with its headquarters located at Warrnambool, in south-west Victoria.

Learn more about us here.

When will the new milk plant be operational?

Construction of the milk processing plant began in August 2015. Works have been progressing very efficiently and construction is on track for the facility to be operational and accepting of milk for processing in the second half of 2016.

What are your future plans for Coonawarra?

Stage 1 of the project will be completed in 2016. This will include potato and frozen foods storage and commissioning of the new milk processing plant, which is designed to produce Whole Milk Powder (WMP), Skim Milk Powder (SMP) and also Anhydrous Milk Fat (AMF).

It is envisaged Stage 2 will involve expansion into other milk products. Like any business we hope to grow and expand in the region if we are successful. Additional operations that are complementary to the region and to Midfield’s operations are under consideration. All future developments will be subject to development permit applications and approval processes.

How many jobs will be created?

The proposed food storage and milk processing facility will create more than 40 direct ongoing jobs and countless indirect employment. There will be 60 to 80 jobs created during the 12 month construction stage. Midfield prefers to employ local people and use local suppliers where possible.

How can I get a job at Midfield?

Job opportunities will be advertised in local media and on our current vacancies pages.

Can I supply a product or service to Midfield (including milk)?

If you have a general enquiry about supplying a product or service to Midfield, email

If you would like to specifically enquire about supplying milk to Midfield, email

What are the benefits to the region?

The Midfield Group will invest more than $70 million to establish the new milk processing facility and generate well above 200 indirect and direct jobs during the construction and operation stages. Midfield has a proud history of supporting local communities. Midfield and the people who work for Midfield will be significant contributors and supporters of community organisations and events.

The project will encourage further investment in the region. There will be expansion of existing and new businesses to supply products and services, including a significant expansion of the dairy industry in south-east South Australia. This will further enhance the region’s reputation of primary food production, processing and export. People in the region will develop skills and experience that will be applicable to current and future businesses and community organisations.

How will the new facility affect the area?

The proposed state-of-art technology will operate 24 hours per day, seven days a week. The best practice design will minimise air and dust emissions. Detailed study and design has already commenced to ensure low noise levels (around 45dBA).

About 20 trucks will visit the site each day for milk delivery and up to four trucks per day for powdered milk dispatch. It is anticipated that most of the trucks will access the site between 8am and 6pm.

Cow milk is made up of about 87% water. To make powdered milk, water is separated from the milk. Water separated from the cow milk will be re-used in the plant for cleaning. Waste water will initially be stored in dams on site and then returned back to pastoral land for irrigation.

Why Coonawarra?


The location is within the boundaries of the Coonawarra. The existing industrial site is ideally set up and positioned for a milk processing facility. The site has been operated for food manufacturing since the early 1990s and has good base infrastructure, including buildings, amenities, roads, storage and services. It is near many dairy farms in south-west Victoria and south-east South Australia and has good access to roads and exports markets. Midfield has long-term customer relationships with local farmers in south-east South Australia and has also been operating pastoral farms in the Mt Gambier region for many years.


The Coonawarra brand is well known internationally for quality and is compatible with Midfield’s existing strong reputation for high-quality international products. Midfield will manufacture milk products from the Coonawarra aimed at the highest quality. The plant will be built using the best and latest technology available. This has the benefit of ensuring high quality products, safe, efficient operations and a business that will be sustainable for many years.

Can Midfield sponsor community organisations?

Midfield has a proud history of supporting local communities. Midfield and the people who work for Midfield will be significant contributors and supporters of community organisations and events. Midfield has already been a sponsor of the Penola Football Club for three years. For specific proposals or requests for support, email

Further Information?

If you need further information or have any questions, please contact us:

Phone: +61 3 5563 4444