Posted by: rivettingkatetaylor | August 25, 2010

milking time…

Milking sheep. Why not?

Some people already do it, why not on a larger scale? I don’t know why, but I don’t know why not either!

This is the kind of innovation that will keep NZ farmers on their toes. This is the kind of thinking outside the square that we should be putting hard-earned research dollars into. There are already millions of sheep in NZ. We use their meat and try to flog their wool, why should their milk be any different?

I was reading on the stuff website this morning, thanks to a story from Mark Hotton, that “Southland sheep farmers could soon join their dairy counterparts in milking their animals, if an idea being investigated by Alliance Group proves feasible.”

The company is investigating alternative revenue streams, including ovine milking. Sheep milk apparently has “significant” health benefits, is high in vitamins and calcium and there is solid demand from Asia and North America. The article said prices for whole milk powder produced from cows was about US$3000 per tonne – from sheep it was US$7000 (probably because access to their teats is a tad harder!!!)

Sheep milk can be used to make cheeses such as feta, roquefort, pecorino romano and ricotta, as well as yoghurt (I stole that from the article as well, I haven’t done any of my own research on this at all…)

This is a cool little story with a positive twist for NZ farming. I’m all for positive. Call me a woos (woose wous – how do you spell that???!!! I’m going to settle on wous even though the only one spell check liked was woos) but I like people reading my stories and not only learning something, but feeling positive afterwards (one of the many reasons why I am not in mainstream journalism).

 I am sooooo looking forward to reading the Dominion Post tomorrow. My Farming the Year Ahead feature does not have opinion pieces from the heads of organisations you hear from in the rural papers all the time (there’s nothing wrong with that, I just wanted to be different). There is only passing mention of the ETS and other issues facing farmers, as one feature can’t address these things in one go – they’re ongoing and complex – and covered well by the likes of Farmers Weekly.

Instead, I have compiled a couple of little stories that I believe make a good read – from biodiversity to biological farming.

To give you a taste if what rivettingkatetaylor has been up to lately…. the use of fur harvesting to reduce the cost of possum control in northern Hawke’s Bay, the testing of a new floating wetland (used for wastewater ponds but can it be used on farm?), a soil carbon conference in Wellington and an insight into the beliefs of the woman driving it, the expansion of the Ballance Farm Environment Awards into the East Coast, Masterton hosting the grand finale of the 2011 National Bank Young Farmer Contest and a wee profile on two QEII covenants owned by Eketahuna farmers Ian and Janet Woodhouse (who incidentally were in Young Farmers with me away back when so that was a cool catch up. I like Janet. I haven’t seen her for 10 or so years and she said I hadn’t changed a bit! xx)

Have a look out for the DomPost tomorrow (usually in the business section).



  1. Whitestone Cheese make some delicious sheeps milk cheeses and Blue River also makes sheeps milk ice cream.

  2. […] Milking Time – rivettingKate Taylor on sheeps milk and her contributions to the farming year ahead. […]

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