SheepMilkNZ June 2020 Newsletter


News  (national)


Danone’s Maui Milk-Supplied Sheep Milk Infant Formula  priced 15 percent above goat milk

In what can be seen as a vote of confidence in sheep milk’s superiority as a infant formula-base, French dairy giant Danone has priced the first batch of its 

Maui-milk supplied Karicare sheep milk infant formula at just under $53 for a 900gm tin. This compared with $46 for goat milk infant formula, 

$35 a tin for A2 cow milk Infant formula, $27 for soy milk and $21-$27 for various types of cow milk-based infant formulas. 

See website for details:


Spring Sheep Milk says rising demand for sheep milk due to Covid-19 advice


Waikato Milking System New Install for Maui Milk suppliers Allan and Toni Browne near Cambridge. 

Waikato Milking System’s Linkedin account carried news and photos  in of their new rotary sheep milking installation. 

As they note: ‘We’re just putting the finishing touches on a new 70-bail, internal sheep rotary milking system in New Zealand. 

The new parlour is expected to handle about 1200 ewes at Astra Farms in the Waikato region, 

using our ECR-S (electronic cup removers) to help automate milking time. The project is expected to be completed by the end of May’.


2020 NZ Specialist Cheese Makers Award winners

Trophies winner:

Gold Medal Sheep Cheese winners were: 

Silver Medal Sheep Cheese Winners: 

  • Waimata Sheep Milk Feta (Waimata’s first season cheeses)
  • Waimata Sheep Milk Blue

Silver medal Yoghurt award winner: 

News stories: Nelson Artisan Cheese makers recognised

Overall winners


New Business Manager Appointment at Maui Milk

Maui Milk has appointed Waikato-native Tom Woutersen (pictured with Thomas MacDonald while at Waikato University) as its new business manager 

to  provide support for new suppliers as they transition to sheep dairying. Tom hails from a Cambridge dairy farming background, 

has a Massey Ag Science degree, a Masters of Management degree (Agribusiness) with first class honours, and several years rural banking experience. 

He recently returning from his OE and has also worked with an innovative start-up in agriculture (Halter).


Fernglen wins Outstanding NZ Food Producer Gold Medal and People’s Choice Awards

Awards announcement


Blue River rebrand as ‘South Island Dairy’ and selling  Italian sheep milk-based infant formula in NZ pharmacies and online.

Blue River donates medical supplies to Italy to fight Covid-19


NZ’s Sheep and Beef greenhouse Nitrous Oxide gas emissions overstated (AgResearch)


News (International)

(Australia) Pecora Dairy’s Cressida Cains picks up Rural Women’s award

(UK)  Sheep Dairying on the brink due to Covid-19

Covid-19 lockdown pushes UK non-bovine industry toward collapse

Financial support vital for UK non-bovine milk sector

(US) Covid-19: US Artisan Cheese Makers are in trouble

(China) Chinese Heilongjiang Dairy Company’s sheep milk butter and SheepMilk infant formula finalists  in World Dairy Awards (winners to be announced June 16). 

(Australia) Australia’s Cheese Therapy rescue boxes (Australia consumers respond to artisan producers)

(Poland)  Polish sheep dairying – feature

(Ireland) Irish Sheep Milk Producer finds silver lining in online sales

(Australia) Ever thought of milking sheep?

(Cyprus)  A win along the way for Cypriot  halloumi producers



Maui Milk Look for Farm (milking and lambing) staff

Maui Milk, which operates two farms western bays are of Lake Taupo, is looking for lamb rearing and milking staff starting in August. Accommodation is provided and contracts are available for  3 to 7 months. 

Maui Milk looking for a General Manager of Farming 

Maui Milk is also looking for a GM farming to take responsibility for both Waikino and WKT farms.  

Kiwi ‘Woofers’ required 

James and Kate Clairmont of Craggy Range Sheep Dairy are on the lookout for kiwis keen to learn a thing or two about sheep dairying through short period of work in exchange for room and board on their Havelock North farm over the coming season.  Contact James on: 021 969 696 also see: Craggy Range Sheep Dairy           

NZ Border closure and the dairy farming worker shortage


Product news

Waitrose launches cheese box to support artisan farmers

New sheep milk cheese (feta variant) into major UK supermarkets

Beer and cheese pairings


Foods (and other products):

Ten healthiest types of chees, according to a dietitian 

Croatia’s Pag Cheese



Milk Quality Overview ( attached) 

Small Ruminants and climate Change (attached)

Effects of machine milking on udder health in dairy ewes (attached)

Sheep Butter shows wound healing ability (attached)

Effects of Season on Ovine Milk Composition


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2019 SheepMilkNZ Conference Proceedings (links to presentation files)

 2019 SheepMilkNZ Conference (presentations)

Held at: Bledisloe Function Centre, Mystery Creek, Hamilton

Session 1: SheepMilkNZ Consumers, Markets and Products  (Chair, Craig Prichard, Massey)

Session 2:  MilkTestNZ  Regulation, Processing, Manufacturing and Support (Chair Kavitha Babu, MilkTestNZ)

 Session 3. AgResearch – Spring Sheep Session   (Chair Linda Samuelsson)

Day 2

 Session 4 International Guest Speaker Julie and Sandy Cameron (Meredith Dairy):

10.30-1pm Session 5: DeLaval Farm Operations

(Chair Rowan Galloway, DeLaval)

2019 SheepMilkNZ Conference Sponsors:

Contact details:


Telephone: 021 672 199 (mobile)

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Magazine and Press Sheep Milk Features

Below are some of the more recent press resources on Sheep Dairying:

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SheepMilkNZ October Newsletter

SheepMilkNZ October 2019 Newsletter



TV: Fernglen on Country Calendar tonight, October 20 (and then via TVNZ ondemand)

Open days

MPI-Massey Industry Overview

  • MPI-Massey Sheep Milk Industry survey and promotional brochure.During October and November, Craig and Anh Nguyen from MPI’s  market intelligence group are hoping to visit each of the country’s  sheep milk producers. The aim of these visits is to gathering input for an industry promotional booklet which for release at next year’s conference. The booklet will include, we hope, brief profiles of all  industry’s sheep milk producers  covering  location, products, stock number, size etc. The booklet  aims to offer new entrant farmers a more detailed overview of the industry’s various farming models and systems than is current available in other literature. Craig will be in touch with the farmers and producers over the next few weeks to arrange short meetings.

Reminder: 2020 SheepMilkNZ Conference will be held at Lincoln University, Canterbury,  on Tuesday March 31 and Wednesday April 1, 2020. Further details to follow.


 News  (national)
Countrywide Magazine October Sheep Milk Feature.

Lifestyle Block Magazine Sheep Milk Feature.

Charing Sheep Dairy opens store in Christchurch’s new Riverside Market

Pamu results release:

 New Ashburton Sheep Dairy producers, Jacy and Allan Ramsay:

 Former Spring Sheep St Kilda staffer, Sofie Barnes ODT feature:

 News (International)

Product news


Foods (and other products)




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SheepMilkNZ August 2019 Newsletter

Major Milestone Month for NZ Sheep dairying!: It’s been a big month for NZ’s sheep milk industry. The two major North Island sheep milk  groups have both been involved in launching infant formula products. Spring Sheep Milk Co  launched its  stage 3 Gentle Sheep Infant Formula into the Malaysian market with plans to launch in NZ and Australia shortly. And Maui Milk’s tie up with Danone, makers of Karicare infant formula, was officially announced yesterday (August 21).  Danone’s first sheep milk infant formula based on milk from Maui’s two Taupo  farms will be available in Australia initially, due to supply limitations,  but  full range of products are scheduled  for release in 2020. Meanwhile Spring Sheep’s first contract supplier, Wairere Creamery, near Karaka in South Auckland has start milking its 670 Spring Sheep- supplied ewes. Maui Milk’s  first contact supplier,   Toni and Allan Browne’s Astra Farms near Cambridge, is advertised for staff to start milking next season.

Product news

Danone launch Maui Milk- supplied stage 3 sheep milk infant formula (press releases attached). In what is surely a huge vote of confidence in the industry and major accomplishment for the Maui Milk team, Danone, makers of Karicare infant formulas and in the top 10 of world’s food and beverage companies  has  officially launch a Maui Milk-sourced stage 3 sheep milk infant formula in Australia. See news article:  The full range of Karicare sheep milk infant formulas is expected to follow in 2020. Maui is meanwhile redoubling efforts to recruit contract milk suppliers from around the Waikato and surrounding regions. Maui’s next open at Waikino Station is on November 5. Meanwhile Maui Milk’s first contract milk supplier is looking for staff. Toni and Allan Browne’s Astra Farms near Cambridge is current gearing up to start milking up to 1000 hoggets in 2020 heading toward a flock of 1800 by 2022-their job advertisement is attached.


Spring Sheep Milk Co Launch Stage 3 infant formula in Malaysia: Following the success of their whole milk and probiotic powder products, Spring Sheep Milk Co has launched its newly manufactured  stage 3 Gentle Sheep Milk Infant Formula into Malaysia with plans to roll out across Australia and New Zealand in the near future (see media stories). Meanwhile Spring Sheep’s first contract supplier, Wairere Creamery near Karaka, owned and run by James Wallace and Johnny McLaughlin, is starting to milk its flock of 670-Spring Sheep-supplied ewes. The farm includes Wairere Goat Milk. As well dairy sheep, the farmers will be milking 350 dairy goats through the same milking parlour in order to supply fresh goat milk to Auckland food stores and to speciality foods outlets around the country. James and Johnny recently advertised for milking parlour staff (see advert).

White Sheep Co’s Sheep Milk Gin and Vodka  finalist in three categories at the NZ Food Awards (Cuisine Artisan Award, Novel food or Beverage Award and Stout Alcoholic Beverage Award). The Awards night is October 23. In May the  company’s Sheep Milk Vodka was awarded the trophy for the ‘Best New Zealand Vodka’ in the category at the inaugural NZ Spirits Awards.

Fernglen flavoured Sheep Milk label changes (drops ‘Performance Protein’ label in favour of new farm-related image).



  • 2020 SheepMilkNZ Conference will be held at Lincoln University, Canterbury,  on Tuesday March 31 and Wednesday April 1, 2020.

We’ve started planning the 2020 Sheep Milk Conference, our annual two day event covering ‘all things sheep dairying’. While no dates are absolutely ideal for everyone, we’ve pushed things back a little further for next year. The conference will be held on Tuesday  March 31 and Wednesday April 1 at Lincoln U. Further details to follow.

  • Canterbury Dairy Sheep Association formed  

AGM Tuesday 24th September at 7pm at the Darfield Recreation and Community Centre. 

A group of keen Canterbury sheep milk  producers have incorporated the Canterbury Dairy Sheep Association with the purpose promoting the industry, providing relevant information to farmers, and connecting interested groups. The group is holding its AGM on September 24th at in the Darfield Recreation and Community Centre. Among the group’s plan is to conduct a survey of potential new entrants producers to understand the level and composition of the interest in a local industry. If anyone would like participate or join the group please email David Waghorn at




Foods (and other products):







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SheepMilkNZ January 2019 Newsletter

SheepMilkNZ January 2019Newsletter

Upcoming Events:

2019 SheepMilkNZ Conference,  March 19-20, Tuesday and Wednesday, at Mystery Creek. Registration opening shortly (last week of January).  This year’s conference will feature: Early results from human sheep milk study, market research reports, farm visits, International speakers Sandy and Julie Cameron, Meredith Dairy (and much more!) and Maui Milk visit (Thursday March 21).


News and Views







On Saturday February 2nd, 2019 Carrfields along with vendors Matt and Tracey Jones will be hosting a Ram sale at Strathclyde Sheep Stud, 2817 West Coast Road RD1 Darfield, West of Christchurch. Approximately 50 1shr East Friesian Rams will be auctioned.

Viewing will begin at 11am on farm with a 1pm auction start

After 8 years of breeding at Strathclyde they are pleased to announce milking  will begin in 2019.

For further information Ph. Callum Dunnett – Carrfields 027 587 0131 or Matt Jones – Vendor 021 502 480



  • Farmgene European Sheep Diary Genetics Available in New Zealand 2019.

1.  Pure East Friesian – Semen and Embryos 
2.  Lacaune semen
3.  Lacaune embryos 87.5% and 75%
4.  75% EU Lacaune x 25% EU East Friesian rams

Contact Ian McDougall at for more further information.

Visit Farmgene Dairy Sheep:

Also available from Farmgene:  The Manech Red Head or to use its French name: Manech tête rousse, is an outdoor dairy sheep found in the Pyrenees Mountains.  Farmgene has imported from France, semen from 4 high indexed rams and a limited quantity is available in 2019 for NZ$90.00 minimum order 20 straws.The Manech Red Head is best used across high yielding indoor breeds such as Lacaune, Lacaune x East Friesian and East Friesian, to create a hardy out door dairy ewe with good udder and foot structure with potential to yield around 400 litres in 200 days. Farmgene will also have a limited number of Manech red head x ram lambs available in December 2019.


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SheepMilkNZ November Newsletter

SheepMilkNZ November Newsletter (pdf version)

Upcoming Events:

2019 SheepMilkNZ Conference, March 19-20 Mystery Creek  Registration opening  in early December.

Conference will feature: Early results from human sheep milk study, market research reports, farm visits, International speakers Sandy and Julie Cameron, Meredith Dairy (and much more!)

SheepMilkNZ November Newsletter___________________________________________________


Ravenwood Family of Fernglen, Wairarapa, launch new sheep milk ‘Performance Protein’ product

 NZ has a brand new sheep milk product! It’s a performance protein shake in three flavoured produced by the Ravenwood family and their sheep of Riversdale in the Wairarapa and manufactured and bottled at the Kingsmeade factory near Masterton. Congratulations to Jeff and the gang (two legged and four!). For further details please follow up via the following links:




Antara building flocks and planning sheep milk restart  in 2019

NZ’s largest sheep milk producer, Antara AG, has taken a break from milking this season  to focus on developing their numbers of higher producing dairy sheep. Antara GM Jazz Hewittson however said he expected to be able to make an announcement in relation to the 2019 season in the New Year. For the moment, he said they were focusing on building their flocks of higher producing dairy sheep for the new  season. Antara AG is owned by Southland entrepreneur Keith Neylon and has produced annually the raw milk equivalent of about 1000 tonnes of sheep milk powder  from up to 20,000 ewes.

Ed’s Note: Neither Antara nor Blue River, their manufacturing partner of the last three years, were able to discuss publicly the halt to supply for this season.



Changing the face of NZ Dairy

Blue River manufactures  cow, goat and sheep milk-based infant formulas at its Invercargill plant. The company was recently named the fastest growing NZ agribusiness firm, the NZ’s fastest growing exporter and was ranked fourth overall in the Deloitte Fast 50 index with growth of 938 percent over two years (See award story). Blue River’s Chinese owner also has a stake in Sardinian sheep milk manufacturer, Alimenta. Europe is a key strategic location for sheep whey powder production and this is a critical ingredient in infant formula manufacture.

Blue River marketing and supply chain manager Gareth Lyness said the company had bought sheep milk powder from Europe and from NZ for its sheep milk infant formula. He said that Blue River remained very keen to see the NZ sheep milk industry flourish but ‘our business has to be successful’. He said the reality was that NZ’s total production of sheep milk powder is currently less than what the company processes. Sheep milk is becoming a global commodity and the success of the business meant it needed to be competitive on the global stage by procuring quality ingredients at competitive prices.


Big numbers flock to  official opening of Spring Sheep’s new hybrid farm near Cambridge

Monavale opening

Spring Sheep’s 2018 young stock

Tawhare Road cow to sheep conversion farm visit

More than 250 people attended the official opening of Spring Sheep Milk Company’s new Monavale hybrid sheep milk farm near Cambridge on November 13. The opening and farm tour took in the new barns, lamb rearing unit and milking parlours. Those attending were also treated to a look at the company’s new cow-sheep conversion farm at Tauwhare Road.






Equally big numbers at Maui Milk Open day


Farmers listening to Maui presentations on milk supply options                          

Paul McGilvary, Maui chairman leading the presentations

Maui Milk’s  November 21 Open Day, which including a milking demonstration and presentation to potential farmers of a Maui milk supply opportunity also attracted large numbers to Waikino.  Wednesday’s presentation included draft farm budget and details of the supply of rams to farmers for next season (see further stories below backgrounding the Maui open day).  For a copy of the presentation please contact Fiona Sherlock at this email address:

Maui Milk Open day background

  1. The Country, Milking Sheep edition with Peter Gatley:
  2. Sheep Milk farmers wanted (Rural New Report on Maui offer and open day) also earlier report.
  3. Sheep milk craze? (more from Peter Gatley)

Other News

  1. Waikato Sheep milk spray drier details released (Rural News)and earlier report (NZ Herald)
  2. AgResearch lamb rearing workshop report
  3. US organics pioneer Gary Hirshberg  on NZ food and farming (and sheepmilk)


  1. Rebuilding: Scottish Dairy sheep and cheese producers involved in e-coli outbreak
  2. Review of lactose free foods (academic paper)


Halloumi shortage:

  1. Halloumi market expansion and china
  2. More on the Halloumi shortage:
  3. More cheeses to try given Halloumi cheese shortage
  4. Cypriot farmers struggling to keep up with halloumi demand


  1. Grilled sheep cheese award:
  2. World champions of cheese competititon report
  3. New line of Lactose- free Burgarian cheese launched:
  4. Sheep milk icecream (with truffles)
  5. Sheep milk kefir antimicrobial and antioxidant testing(academic paper)


  1. Technology firm links to  China sheep and goat milk expansion


  1. Small EF Starter flock (Blenheim)


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SheepMilkNZ News and Views (September)


SheepMilkNZ September Round Up

  1. Canterbury Sheep Milk Public meeting. Proposal to form a Canterbury Sheep Milk Association meeting: Darfield Rugby Club Rooms this Thursday 7pm  (September 27).Further details attached. Guy Trafford discussing the proposal on ‘The Country’ (click to view)
  2. AgResearch South Island Dairy Sheep Lamb Rearing Workshop on October 4 Lincoln Event Centre and October 5 Croyden Lodge, Gore (flier attached)
  3. 2019 SheepMilkNZ Conference, Bledisloe Function Centre, Mystery Creek, Hamilton March 20-21 (further details to follow)

News and View:

  1. Blue River win  2018 Export Southland Recognition Award (click to view story)
  2. Spring Sheep Finalist in  NZ Trade and Enterprise 2018 International Business Awards  Excellence in Innovation Category (winners announced in November)
  3. Charlie had five little Angels! One of Julie Webb-Brownlee’s favourite ewes, Charlie, went above and beyond at Hanover stud (near Nelson)  this seaon (national news story)
  4. Pāmu and the future of alternative dairy (Steve Carden, Pāmu (formerly Landcorp) CEO on the future) 

Products/ Foods:

  1. How Halloumi Devoured a Nation (UK consumers go mad for halloumi!) 
  2. Early cheese making and the spread of farming  
  3. Sheep Milk Icecream traditions and history 


  1.  Mechanics of milks project: A new  $11m multi-species milk’s mechanisms  research project underway at Riddet Institute (Palmerston North)


  1. Sheep milking  in Pakistan
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Chef Marc Soper’s Sheep Milk NZ food basket

Chef Marc Soper’s Sheep Milk NZ food basket

Chef Soper hard at work on his three dishes in this year’s National Fieldays Kitchen Theatre

Click to order

What’s in it?

3x Marc Soper’s Fieldays Sheep Milk Recipes (with full instructions)

  1. ‘Te Mana Lamb Loin and Thorvald Sheep Milk white vein spätzli’ ( sample recipe)
  2.  ‘Kingsmeade Tinui Blue Sheep Milk Cheese and cauliflower crème soup’
  3. ‘Thorvald sheep milk yoghurt pannacotta’

Watch Marc prepare these three fabulous dishes (apologies for the poor quality video).


Sheep Ingredients to make the recipes:

1x 400g Blue River Dairy Sheep Milk Powder
1x 500ml Thorvald Sheep Milk Yoghurt
1x Kingsmeade  Tinui Blue Sheep Milk Cheese
1x Thorvald White Rind Sheep Milk Cheese 

Plus other Complimentary Extras 

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SheepMilkNZ News and Views (August)


Hoggets in the crop at Talla Farm (Wairarapa)

News and Views (August)

Haloumi Burger

Products/ Foods

Milkplan small holder’s stall



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