Wednesday, 22 March 2017 09:55

Sheep milk sector can be a winner for NZ

Written by  Peter Burke
Craig Prichard. Craig Prichard.

New Zealand's sheep milking industry plateaued a bit in the last year, says an organiser of last week’s Sheep Milk NZ Conference 2017.

But this is good, says Craig Prichard, of Massey University’s School of Management, because he would hate to see people get too excited, given that the industry still has a long road to travel.

The industry faces big challenges and its emphasis now is on improving the genetics of milking sheep in NZ and on developing new food products.

Farmers, scientists and agribusiness professionals attended the conference, as did people from Australia and France, including staff from a company supplying genetics to NZ farmers.

Prichard says some people think sheep milk is still novel, but he wants them to get over that novelty notion and focus on the great food dishes and other things the NZ industry is producing.

“NZ already produces some amazing sheep milk cheeses,” he told Rural News. “Once we have worked out what their particular strengths are we’ll find a cheese that will rival others around the world.”

He says the tastes and styles of sheep milk products vary from region to region in NZ, as in Europe. He points to a sheep milk cheese maker in Nelson whose cheeses have a very distinctive flavour.

“And Kingsmeade Cheeses, in Wairarapa, and the new group emerging there, are working on a product range that is really exciting. Obviously you have three big producers all pushing hard to get their production up to get some return on their investment.”

Prichard says soils and weather influence product style and taste, and regionality is important in developing high-value sheep milk products.

» 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.

» The RNG Weather Report



Proper training beats learning on the hoof

New Zealand's first professional dairy cow hoof trimmer has fulfilled a long-held dream, setting up a training institute to bring internationally recognised standards of hoofcare to the industry.

FE researchers aim to raise awareness

Facial eczema in dairy cattle can cause significant production losses without visible symptoms, says a new group formed to raise awareness of the disease.

» 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