Dairy Sheep Idea to Push Tri-Use Animal19 June 2014
NEW ZEALAND – There are huge opportunities to be had in dairy sheep, according to New Zealand agribusiness company, Landcorp Farming Limited.
Farming leaders are promoting the idea of moving parts of New Zealand’s sheep sector into milk production on the back of strong demand across Asia, the Middle East, North Africa, US and the Mediterranean.
The United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organisation puts the global share of sheep milk at 1.4 per cent, but this means New Zealand has huge potential, Federated Farmers of New Zealand (FFNZ) has announced.
FFNZ Meat and Fibre vice-chairperson Rick Powdrell said the fact that Landcorp is entertaining the idea is ‘exciting’ but would need the support of helpful tariffs and trade agreements.
Mr Powdrell said: “We need to be clear that nothing less than the full elimination of agricultural tariffs in the TPP is acceptable to our members. I say that not only with my meat and fibre hat on but because the United States imported about half of the world’s sheep cheese last year.
“This is not just about the United States because the International Dairy Federation (IDF) states dairy sheep play an important role in the Mediterranean and Middle Eastern countries.”
He added that sheep milk is easier to digest, commands a premium with consumers and contains higher milk solids than cows’ milk.
“With Landcorp now actively considering dairy sheep, this evolution could make sheep a tri-use animal for dairy, meat and fibre,” said Mr Powdrell. “ This would greatly aid the rejuvenation of our industry and potentially put New Zealand back on the sheep’s back.”
TheCattleSite News Desk