Thursday, 05 March 2015 00:00

Better late, than never!

Written by 
Dr Jock Allison Dr Jock Allison

Noted animal geneticist Dr Jock Allison is full of praise for the initiative to build a larger sheep milking industry.

 He says the move has come late given that East Friesian sheep (the main milking breed) have been out of quarantine for nearly 20 years. The other milking breed, Awassi, is still held tightly by Saudi interests, he says. Another breed, the French Lacaune, could possibly be imported.

“Sheep milk is a totally different product: it’s not as tough on the environment and we can have systems just as profitable as dairy because of the high level of milk production. Sheep cause less pugging of the land and their effluent is not as great as a dairy cow’s.” 

An economic unit of sheep milkers would be about 600 ewes. They must be fed well, like cows, to obtain good milk yields.

“It’s fantastic to have a group at Massey wanting to get involved in research,” he told Rural News. “Looking around at places such as Lake Taupo where they are restricting nitrogen runoff, sheep dairying could be a major opportunity. 

“We now have dairying in the Mackenzie Country; sheep milking would fit in there quite well.”

Key Points

  • A high yielding ewe will produce 450L of milk per year
  • The average NZ farmgate price for sheep milk is about $2.00/L
  • The lambing percentage from an East Friesian flock in the UK is 175%
  • China produces 1.5 million tonnes of sheep milk annually
  • New Zealand has the largest sheep dairy operation in the world (Blue River) with 25,000 stock units. The next largest is in Spain.  
  • The largest consumer of sheep dairy products is the USA, which consumes over half of the world’s production of sheep cheese.

More like this

Has AgResearch got it right?

A former director of AgResearch, Dr Jock Allison, remains unconvinced about the validity of the AgResearch strategy that has driven changes in personnel.

High society for sheep milking

Plans to expand the sheep milk industry have advanced to the formation of a society to develop and promote the industry, confirmed at the close of a recent two day conference at Massey University. 

National

An 'amaizing' change

The success of some of the early Māori adopters in the kiwifruit industry is starting to catch on.

Machinery & Products

Made in NZ... Hansen Products

Made in New Zealand looks at the wealth of design and manufacturing ability we have in this country, producing productive…

New models mark seventh decade

Celebrating its 70th year – and having already released the fifth generation A Series in January – Valtra has just…

Kubota's new autumn offerings

Kubota, which is gaining traction in the agricultural sector with an ever-broadening portfolio, has announced some additions for autumn.

» The RNG Weather Report

» Latest Print Issues Online

The Hound

Bad company

The Hound is among many in the agriculture sector, including many of our top scientists, who are somewhat cynical claims…

Quitters?

OPINION: This old mutt wonders what it is about tall, balding, ex-Fonterra executives and their (non) ability to handle life…

» Connect with Rural News

» eNewsletter

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter