Daniel and Amanda Schat milk cows that produce the much sought-after A2 milk

Contract helps farm purchase

by Ann van Engelen

A contract supplying sought-after A2 milk to Synlait has helped Daniel and Amanda Schat buy their first dairy farm in Darfield.

The couple is in their second season milking 385 mainly Holstein Friesian cows on 103-hectares. Prior to purchasing the irrigated property, they were 50/50 sharemilkers on an 800-cow farm owned by Daniel’s parents at Te Pirita. The previous owners supplied A2/A2 milk to Dunsandel-based milk processor Synlait, but there was no guarantee the Schats would get a contract.

“We knew we had to supply Synlait here. A2 milk is taking off, so we took an intelligent gamble,” said Daniel.

“We had our 800-cow herd tested to find out which cows had the A2/A2 gene. We sold any that didn’t, which was about half the herd. We were 50 cows short of what we needed. We had to sell some amazing, high-producing cows but it got us into a great financial position to buy our first farm.”

The couple were fortunate to secure a contract to supply A2 milk to Synlait just before the start of the 2018–19 season. They are paid a premium of 20 cents a kilogram of milksolids above the normal milk price. They are on target to produce 180,000 kgMS this season, meaning their special milk is worth an extra $36,000.

“That extra money has been greatly appreciated, especially in our first year of farm ownership.”

The Schats, are one of about 80 Synlait farms providing milk free from the A1 protein in the South Island. The milk is said to have health benefits for people who have trouble drinking regular milk.