Video | Agriculture | Confidence | Economy | Energy | Employment | Finance | Media | Property | RBNZ | Science | SOEs | Tax | Technology | Telecoms | Tourism | Transport | Search

 


Landcorp considers business case for milking sheep

Landcorp considers business case for milking sheep

By Pam Graham

July 1 (BusinessDesk) - Landcorp, New Zealand’s largest corporate farmer, is having a serious look at milking sheep and will decide in a few months whether there is a business case for it.

Chief executive Steven Carden, who is about one year in the job, says the board gave him a broad mandate to look expansively at opportunities and milking sheep is one he has come up with.

Landcorp has a flock of about 850,000 ewes, none of which it milks, but it leases about 1,500 to Invercargill-based Blue River Dairy, an existing processor of sheep milk.

“Landcorp has been a very successful sheep farmer for many years,” Carden said. At present the state-owned company produces wool and meat but sees an opportunity in the sheep milk industry where there is no real international player. Sheep milk consumer products are established in many countries but they are largely produced domestically.

Landcorp started seriously examining opportunities in the sheep milk industry about four to five months ago.

“We are still doing a business case on entering what would effectively be a new industry for us. We would like to make a decision on it in the next three to four months,” Carden said.

The bottleneck for any sheep milk industry is getting the right sheep breeds, developing ways of increasing their output and building up large flocks of them.

“Until we’ve cracked that issue the industry will be on a slow growth path,” he said.

But Landcorp has a significant genetics business and the ability to apply that to breeding sheep for milking.

“We are really interested in sheep milk because it provides another income stream for sheep farmers who are struggling with the economics of their farming operation compared to dairy farming,” Carden said.

A sheep milk industry would have a smaller environmental footprint than the bovine dairy industry and the capital costs per farm would not be substantial.

To go ahead with sheep milking Landcorp would want a processing partner and it would examine opportunities for developing a high-end brand, Carden said. It is open to investing in processing and is open to talking to foreign companies.

Landcorp has farms in Te Anau which could potentially supply the existing processor in the region.The company hasn’t decided what products the venture would focus on but options include butter to high-end retailers in the US or infant formula to China.

There may be an “external group to New Zealand” willing to come in with expertise but there hasn’t been any talks yet, he said, adding that Landcorp had a lot of positive feedback since it had revealed it was considering milking sheep.

“It is a consumer product around the world but very little is traded internationally,” he said.

Sheep milk tastes similar to milk from cows but has a higher solids component so is more efficient to process.

“We would like to take a product through to end consumer in partnership with others,” Carden said.

(BusinessDesk)

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Trade Plans: Prime Minister's Speech To International Business Forum

"The work to improve public services, build infrastructure, and solve social problems is possible only because we have enjoyed sustained, solid economic growth. A big reason for that is the Government’s consistent agenda of economic reform, and our determination to open up more opportunities for trade with the world." More>>

ALSO:

Media: TVNZ Flags Job Cuts To Arrest Profit Decline

Chief executive Kevin Kenrick said the changes were aimed at creating "a sustainable future video content business for TVNZ in an ever-changing media market." More>>

ALSO:

Reserve Bank: Wheeler Keeps OCR At 1.75%

Reserve Bank governor Graeme Wheeler kept the official cash rate unchanged at 1.75 percent, as expected, and reiterated his view that the benchmark rate doesn't need shifting for the foreseeable future. More>>

ALSO:

f work for Pumpkin Patch staff

Retail: Pumpkin Patch Brand, IP Sold To Catch Group

The receivers of failed children's clothing retailer Pumpkin Patch have confirmed that the company's brand and intellectual property have been sold to Australian online retailer Catch Group. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Business
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news