About Blackmore vale Dairy
Jim Highnam, the current MD, joined the Company in 1991 on the retirement of his father, Christopher Highnam and in 2001 re-branded the company to ‘BV Dairy’. Jim, the third generation of Highnam’s at BV Dairy, continues to grow the business and the Dairy is committed to using the latest manufacturing technology to supply consistent top quality products and has a high technical emphasis with modern industrial computers ensuring the consistency of output.
BV Dairy’s roots hail from a farm at the head of Cheddar Gorge in Somerset, where the family started out. They then became accredited milk producers at Highnam’s Dairy, Farley Farm, Luton in 1932 and in 1946, The Highnam family then returned to the West Country, purchasing Dairy House Farm, Church Hill in Kington Magna on the edge of the Blackmore Vale in North Dorset. They then took over Lower Caggypole Farm in the neighbouring village of Buckhorn Weston where they continued to bottle milk on the farm and sent any surplus to Gillingham Dairies to make cream. Eventually, Highnam’s Dairy bought Gillingham Dairies.
In 1948 the move was made to Old Rectory Farm (still in Kington Magna) and in 1958, having sold their dairy herd, Jack Highnam and one of his sons, Christopher Highnam, formed Blackmore Vale Farm Cream Ltd. They started purchasing milk from 3 local farms and specialised in the production of cream, clotted cream and other premium dairy products.
In 1985 with an ever expanding business, new premises were needed and so they relocated to the present BV Dairy site at Wincombe Lane in Shaftesbury.
BV dairy chill store
The Chill Store
Our new chill store structure, which houses 1000 pallet spaces kept at 3°C and includes additional offices and storage for our customer services team, transport and storage teams, as well as production planning and engineering workshops, was commissioned in October 2016. The design ethos of the chill store is based upon lean principles, efficient running, and full IT integration across all functions.
With the help of VNA (Very Narrow aisle) forklift trucks and navigation systems, we can maximise the number of pallet slots in the facility while using the least amount of floor space. IT systems manage stock replenishments, final order picking, loading, and transport as well as the transportation of raw materials into the chill storage and put away operations.
The entire roof is covered in solar panels, which produce 3500 kWh of electricity daily, making the facility energy self-sufficient. Our fleet of corporate vehicles is also powered by this energy, and throughout the course of the year, the surplus energy produced will meet some of the needs of the industrial facilities. All chiller unit gases are energy-optimal, and the Chillstore itself has PIR lighting systems installed throughout to maximise energy savings.
A fantastic additional result, steaming from the construction of the chill store facility, is the Bio Diversity Project that is also now sited between the building and the AD Plant. This is a planting scheme and pond system that we allow to propagate naturally, providing a valuable area for wildlife of all kinds to live and flourish.
ABOUT BLACKMORE VALE DAIRY
BV Dairy is decreasing its carbon footprint (the volume of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases emitted in manufacturing and distribution operations). Emissions can be reduced by cutting fossil fuel consumption or generating renewable energy and we are doing both!
BV Dairy will cut its carbon footprint by about 60% – reducing its output of carbon by about 1200 tonnes per year. This equates to the environmental impact of planting 120,000 trees. Our plant also treats waste materials on site – thus reducing sewer disposal costs, while generating renewable energy for use in the dairy.
We have been working with Clearfleau, our project partner, who are a British company that designed the system for extracting energy from liquid food processing residues. Biodegradable materials, containing organic matter, sugars, fats and proteins, can be treated using Anaerobic Digestion. In this natural degradation process, bacteria break down biodegradable compounds in the absence of oxygen to produce biogas (mainly methane and carbon dioxide).
Within the anaerobic reactor tank, a variety of bacteria convert organic compounds into biogas. There are four key stages in the AD reaction process:
- Hydrolysis: the feedstock contains both suspended and dissolved solids. Here the suspended solids are converted into soluble products, such as sugars, amino acids and alcohols.
- Acidogenesis: soluble organic products are converted into volatile fatty acids, plus by-products like ammonia and carbon dioxide. This “Acidogenic” (fermentative) biological reaction is like the process of milk going sour.
- Acetogenesis: this is a biological process where volatile fatty acids are fermented by “acetogenic” bacteria to produce acetic acid, carbon dioxide and hydrogen.
- Methanogenesis: slow growing “methanogenic” bacteria convert acetate and hydrogen, into methane and carbon dioxide – the main components of biogas.
Biogas is then stored in the “bio-dome” (gas cover) above the reactor. Some of the electricity generated from the gas, in a combined heat and power (CHP) generator, is used in the dairy, saving energy costs and reducing carbon emissions. The CHP also produces heat that is used in the AD process and the dairy.