Dairy farmers Arjan and Kelsi van’t Klooster have been suppliers to South Canterbury milk processor Oceania Dairy since the couple bought their first dairy farm on the 1st of June 2015.
Located in Glenavy, just 20 minutes from Oamaru, Oceania Dairy is clearly visible from the van’t Koosters kitchen window.
Arjan says that he and Kelsi looked carefully at a range of different supply options when they bought their farm, but were finally influenced by the extra 10 cents per kilogram being offered by Oceana.
“For dairy farmers like us just starting out with their first farm and a bank to keep happy, the extra 10 cents a kilogram really does make quite a differ-ence to our bottom line.”
Arjan and Kelsi milk a mixed herd of 600 friesian and jersey cows off 185 hectares, typically producing 420 kilograms of milk solids per cow.
Doing the numbers, Arjan calculates that 250,000 solids at 10 cents earns an extra $25,000 – a significant sum for debt repayment or capital purchase for a young farmer.
“That 10-cent margin was for the first two seasons and now the last two seasons have been 15 cents.
“Another factor was that we didn’t have to purchase any shares in the company. So other than having to buy our own milk vat, there was no cost to us.”
Arjan is also highly complimentary of Oceania’s friendly tanker drivers and their flexibility of service.
“The tanker drivers have been great when we have shifted from 12-hour milking cycles to 16-hour cycles – 5am, 7pm and midday the next day.
“Under a 12-hour milking regime two milkings will fit into the vat. Changing to 16-hour milking during the season can create a struggle fitting two milkings into the one vat, particularly at peak season. So the drivers shifted to 16-hour pick-ups to match our milkings.”
Arjan says a third benefit of supplying Oceania Dairy is a slightly higher advance rate.
“When you supply milk you get paid on the 20th of the month but for both Oceania and Fonterra a portion of the cheque is held back and paid out during the winter.
“For us farmers this can serve as a small advantage as we get a bit of cash fl ow over the winter months when we typically don’t supply milk.
“But Oceania tends to pay a wee bit more up front also – 80% advance rate – which also makes a difference from an ongoing cash fl ow perspective.”
Arjan also likes the fact that Oceania Dairy actively contributes to the local community by supporting the salmon hatchery and providing several scholarships.
The winner of the 2017 Aorangi Regional FMG Young Farmers competition, Arjan has also completed a bachelor’s degree in commerce and agriculture as well as a certificate in applied science from Lincoln University.
Passionate about his animals, Arjan admits to having a lot of pets in the herd which tend to earn themselves a free ticket to stay in a few more years even when they are not producing quite so well.
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