Arla Foods is starting to recruit more farmers to supply milk for its new £150m fresh milk dairy in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire.

Construction work at the site started this week and is expected to be finished next July. Once operational, the dairy will process and pack up to one billion litres of milk a year.

Arla Foods Milk Partnership currently has around 1,400 members, supplying around 1.6bn litres of milk annually to Arla Foods, equivalent to about 90% of Arla’s raw milk requirement for the premium liquid milk market.

An Arla spokeswoman said it was keen to source more milk from existing members looking to expand production, as well as recruiting new suppliers. While the amount of extra milk required remained commercially sensitive, she suggested about 500 extra farmers could be recruited over a five-year period.

The Aylesbury dairy is being entirely funded by Arla and could become the world’s first zero carbon fresh milk dairy, Peter Lauritzen, chief executive of Arla Foods UK said: “The new facility will create a platform for the company to grow its fresh milk business, allowing us to deliver our UK growth strategy.”

It will create 700 new jobs and up to 1,000 construction jobs over the next 18 months.