We’ve been making history from the very start, by leading the way to a better tomorrow.
Our story begins in 2000, when dairy farmers, Ben Dingle, Juliet Maclean and farm systems scientist, John Penno founded Synlait.
Detailed analyses proved to the Waikato-based founders that with pivot irrigation, scale, flat contour and favourable soil type, the vast dryland areas of Canterbury had the potential to become some of the most productive pastoral land in the world. In addition, the commercial centre of Christchurch and nearby ports of Lyttleton and Timaru provided added incentive to invest in the region.
In 2001, a 570ha dryland sheep farm named Robindale was the first to be converted to dairying. Over the next ten years, using equity generated from conversions and additional investors,the conversion process continued, along with the acquisition of already established farms and peaked with 12 conversions and three purchased farms.
In 2008 the first Synlait milk powder was produced. At the same time Synlait changed emphasis away from conversions and appointed Juliet Maclean to manage the farming business, which was known as Synlait Farms. John Penno was appointed the CEO of Synlait Milk and the businesses continued to work closely together to add value to milk.
Juliet recruited a team of experienced farming professionals with complementary technical skills. This group supports the farm managers to deliver superior farm productivity and profitability.
Synlait Farms operates 14 farms on nearly 4000ha in the mid- Canterbury area. This season, with 85 team members, approximately 13,000 cows are producing a total of 5.7 mkgMS. The farms are within 20km of the Synlait Milk processing factory at Dunsandel.
In 2014, the ownership of the business changed from a group of 100 shareholders to just three. Company founders John Penno and Juliet Maclean now own 26% of the shares, with Shanghai Pengxin owning the remaining shares. Synlait Farms was renamed Purata in February 2015.