Wednesday, 19 July 2017 08:55

Milk ‘em instead

Written by  Peter Burke
Craig Prichard. Craig Prichard.

Massey University sheep milking expert Craig Prichard’s fun exhibit at Fieldays -- allowing site visitors to milk a sheep -- had seriously optimistic intent.

Behind the fun was positive news about the rapidly growing sheep milk industry in NZ.

He noted that people have a sort of anxiety about food, prompting them to query its health properties and ponder whether it will make them feel better. People want to learn more about products made from sheep milk, Prichard says.

The sheep milk cheese industry is growing; people like the elite products. At the same, he says, they are looking at the dairy cow industry -- labelled by some a polluter -- and comparing that to the sheep milk industry which they perceive is less harmful to the environment.

Prichard says the sheep milking industry has strong relationships with farmers, the general public and customers.

“We are connecting with people. What’s more the sheep milk industry has always been about food, not about animals. NZ farmers are in the habit of continuously thinking about production rather than the food they are producing; we are trying to make a transition [from production to food thinking] via sheep milking.”

Prichard says farmers need to talk more about food and less about animals, and ditch the ‘dollars/kilo thing’.

“That sends exactly the wrong message,” he explains. “You have to think about who you are trying to communicate with and the word ‘food’ is the one to use.”

He says the food sector has to start thinking about how people will integrate its food products into their lives. Some may choose to be connoisseurs of cheese and that is great.

“Others may respond to the industrialisation of their palette by some of the big companies in the food sector.”

Prichard says the sheep milk industry is trying to show change can happen as it uses a different animal and produces different food.

» Connect with Rural News

More like this

Lights, camera, action on sheep!

Remote sensing cameras and GPS are being used by Massey University researchers to see what, if any, damage sheep cause to waterways in the hill country.

Dairy motivates top scholars

Both Massey University’s top scholars for 2019 are from dairy farming families and both are DairyNZ scholarship students.

New hort science scholarships 

A scholarship for up to five students each year, studying Massey University’s Bachelor of Horticultural Science degree has been launched by kiwifruit exporter Zezpri.

» The RNG Weather Report



World’s worst weed on the prowl

With warmer weather bringing on forage maize crops in leaps and bounds, Waikato Regional Council is reminding farmers and growers to keep watch for velvetleaf.

» Connect with Rural News

» Connect with Rural News

» The RNG Weather Report

» Latest Print Issues Online

The Hound


The Hound notes that one of the country’s poorest financially performing state-owned enterprises – the Government farming entity Landcorp (or…

Rural revolt

Your old mate hears that the antics of the Government – especially the NZ First component – are fuelling motivation…

» Connect with Rural News