NZ Dairy Summer 2021

| 77 nzdairy DAIRY PEOPLE » Zach Mounsey Focused on the area of milk supply Virginia Wright Zach Mounsey grew up on a dairy farm in the Waikato and he’s now 50/50 sharemilking on a farm not far away, just out of Otorohonga, which he and his parents bought in an equity partnership two years ago. At the same time he’s part of the team involved in setting up the new Happy Valley Dairy Processing plant just down the road. “I was Happy Valley’s first employee when they initially got their land use consents three years ago from the District Council. Then I came on and helped with the regional consents , their IPO, sales models and so on. Since then the team’s grown to six with a CEO, a CFO, and project and sales capability, and I’ve stepped into the more focused area of milk supply.” At the same time as Happy Valley has started to take shape, Zach has added to his equity in the farm with the purchase of two small neighbouring blocks for a total of 29 hectares. This has allowed them to comfortably add another 50 Jersey cows to their already 400 strong herd. “A2 genetics are hard to come by,” explains Zach, “and the A2 Jersey cows are expensive.” That expense is offset by the premium they get for supplying exclusively A2 milk to Synlait, a condition they’re audited for a few times a year. As Zach explains “the total premium itself is 40-45c. While this may only represent circa 6% of a $7 milk price, when you run that through the farm operating profit sheet it’s a 12% direct benefit to our operating profit out the other end. On a $6 payout it adds over 15% to the total operating farm surplus, so it’s a good way to mitigate risk on lower payouts and make the absolute most of more favorable milk prices” While A2 Milk Company and Synlait may be seen as having profitability problems, from a farmer point of view things are still fine. “They’ve just announced their final milk price and it was incredibly strong and outperformed other processors.” says Zach. Being an A2 supplier dovetails nicely with what the Happy Valley Dairy plant aspires to. It’s still a greenfield site for now, with the first signs of the plant to come just visible thanks to diggers and bulldozers getting site preparation underway. Making allowances for Covid and other disruptions they expect to be up and running by 2024-25, but they already have a clear vision of what they’ll be doing. “We’re a new age processor that’s going to have state-of-the-art plant in the heart of the dairy capital of the world,” explains Zach. “It’ll ramp up over time but we’re going to have a focus on specialty milks and we’ll have the ability to stream different milks at the plant going into higher-performing specialized ingredient products.” Zach’s aspiration is that farmers like himself will have a local dairy factory they can identify with as well as profit from. “We’ll produce some of the most specialised ingredients in the world and it’s an exciting opportunity for farmers to add value to their milk. Zach Mounsey grew up on a dairy farm in the Waikato and he’s now 50/50 sharemilking just out of Otorohonga. Site prep & excavation Tracks & races Farm drainage Entrances / driveways Metalling Carting fill Transporting up to 27tn Grader, roller & bulldozer Site stabilisation Accredited Pond Builders For all your Drainage, Excavation & Transport Requirements Contact: Ross 027 484 8751 ǀ Andrew 027 304 2915 or Leigh 027 487 2668 ǀ It’s exciting for the community and the district as well in terms of employment and also downstream from the factory with the other opportunities it will open up.” 83 Kio Kio Station Rd, RD4, Otorohanga Ph: 07 873 1800 Mob: 029 833 0011 Email: