News & Articles

Breeding sheep for a new industry; dairy sheep in NZ

Genetic improvement is permanent and cumulative. It is on this foundation that the MauiMilk Dairy Sheep breeding programme is founded.

Jake Chardon, Geneticist, MauiMilk Breeding Programme

  • Sheep milk in NZ is an interesting option because it offers diversification, a high value product, stable farm-gate price, and it is environmentally sustainable; there is already NZ sheep farming experience and expertise in pastoral dairy systems as well as in dairy processing.
  • Sheep milk products are attractive to consumers because they are suitable for bovine intolerant consumers, have A2 beta casein, high mineral, Omega 3 and a creamy taste. MauiMilk also provide the NZ label (provenance), pasture based, free range (animal welfare) and environmental sustainability.
  • Waikino Station was founded to encourage new conversions and develop genetics and farm systems to enable profitability. It also serves as a demo farm and promotional tool
  • Breeding of Southern CrossTM out of multiple breeds to provide genetic diversity and hybrid vigour. East Frisian: Europe’s high milk volume, Awassi: hardy sheep from Middle East and Lacaune from France, famous for Riquefort cheese and a large scientific breeding program.
  • Interaction of Southern CrossTM and Lacaune breeding to mutual benefit: Lacaune have been very successful with their breeding program in France but are restricted to certain farm practices that can however be tested in NZ.
  • Advanced technology in recording, data collection and reproduction are applied.
  • Access to modern dairy sheep genetics in NZ: Until now it was impossible to breed a modern dairy ewe in NZ. Breeding dairy ewes is now the easiest and cheapest part of the conversion process. Southern CrossTM r rams are now available to farmers.

NZARN members a full copy of the presentation is available below if you are logged in.

Non-members looking for more information are encouraged to use our ‘contact a nutritionist’ form and ‘member directory’ to find a member who can help them answer their questions.

If you are a Rural Professional interested in joining the NZARN please see our ‘membership’ section.

Share this post

Share on facebook
Share on google
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest
Share on print
Share on email

While the NZARN serves to foster and encourage rigorous discussion about all aspects of ruminant nutrition, it is important to acknowledge there may be differences of professional opinion.  The views and ideas of individuals included in the comment areas may not reflect the wider ideas and opinions of the entire NZARN community.

If comments are deemed inappropriate (e.g. abusive, threatening, racists, defamatory), moderators will remove the comments and a copy will be taken for legal purposes if applicable. If you would like to report a comment please use our contact form here.