IT’S not just hungry humans in the market for dairy products, as a fast growing Brisbane-based ingredient company has discovered.
Feeding the booming Asian region with more meat and dairy protein will require Australian farmers to better feed their young livestock with nutrition-boosting ingredients in order to set them up for optimum productivity growth.

The Maxum Foods ingredients business is banking on a lot more local and overseas demand for animal feed supplements as it moves to crank up production of milk replacement powder products at a new purpose-built plant in Victoria.

Maxum, which originally began trading as a dairy food ingredients supplier and custom blender for the baking and food processing sector in 2003, has enjoyed 30 per cent annual growth in recent years
Within five years of starting out, partners Ben Woodhouse, Dustin Boughton and David Russell had propelled their fledgling company to be Australia’s fastest growing business in the BRW Magazine top 100 listing.

Success has been partly fuelled by a livestock nutrition division which began soon after the company kicked off, value adding bulk milk powder which had passed its human consumption shelf life date.

Maxum is now Australia’s leading stockfeed milk powder manufacturer.

Last month it launched its new MaxCare milk replacer powder range for calves, lambs, kids and piglets.

The product range includes enhanced nutritional formulations superceding the company’s original retail offering sold locally and in the Pacific and Asia under the True Blue and Lucky brands.

Maxum also makes milk replacement powder products under contract for other brands selling in Australia and overseas.

The strategy for the new MaxCare lines includes exporting the brand, with about 30pc of production expected to go overseas within a few years.

Eventually it could also be produced under contract in off-shore markets.

Move to Melbourne
Production of the MaxCare lines will shift from the outer Brisbane suburb of Banyo to Bayswater in Melbourne late this month, where new generation milk powder blending and processing technology will more than double the company’s packing capacity to about 8000 tonnes a year.

Animal nuturition national manager Tom Newton said the new plant enabled the company to be close to major milk processing sources in Victoria and build on Maxum’s innovative formulations developed to improve the digestive health of young livestock.

Probiotic, nutritional and organic acid ingredients combined with consistent milk fat, protein, lactose and powder moisture contents to give young stock a growth rate boost not necessarily available from mothers’ milk – and at a cost effective return.

“We believe that giving calves, lambs or piglets a more consistent and strategically planned start pays off with much more production value down the track,” Mr Newton said.

He noted how strong milk prices last financial year emphasised the value in spending about 50 cents a litre on a nutritionally rich feed replacer powder, rather than diverting milk worth up to 65c/L away from the vat to feed weaned dairy calves.

“People will argue that mothers’ milk might be better, but the nutritional value and quality of that milk will vary throughout the year,” he said.

“There may also be logistic and other management disadvantages in feeding fresh milk, including transporting it to a calf rearing area.”

Feeding up dairy heifers or newly weaned beef calves with the right nutritional ingredients early in their lives helped ensure Australian herds could expand productively to respond to the big demands on our protein export sectors.

Mr Newton said dry seasons in northern Australia had triggered a big lift in milk replacement powder sales to the beef industry in the past two years, as producers strategically weaned early to reduce pressure on cows and ensured their calf drops were in a better position to thrive when conditions improved.

Interestingly, a growing aspect of Maxum’s business in the human consumption product category is in functional protein powder products for health and nutrition for children and older consumers to help achieve weight goals, muscle recovery or improve general wellbeing.

Meanwhile, the company’s original business category continues to grow, providing dairy ingredients and technical support to small and medium-sized food companies ranging from makers of biscuits to ice cream.

Everything from milk and yoghurt powder to cheese, cream, and condensed milk is sourced from bulk dairy manufacturers in Australia and overseas to be supplied in quantities required by Maxum’s customers.

Source: Queensland Country Life