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

 

Must Sell 20 Petrol Stations: Z Cleared To Buy Caltex Assets

Z Energy is allowed to buy the Caltex and Challenge! petrol station chains but must sell 19 of its retail sites and one truck-stop, the Commerce Commission has ruled in a split decision that acknowledges possible retail price coordination between fuel retailers occurs in some regions. More>>

ALSO:

Huntly: Genesis Extends Life Of Coal-Fuelled Power Station To 2022

Genesis Energy will keep its two coal and gas-fired units at Huntly Power Station operating until 2022, having previously said they'd be closed by 2018, after wringing a high price from other electricity generators who wanted to keep them as back-up. More>>

ALSO:

Dammed If You Do: Ruataniwha Irrigation Scheme Hits Farmer Uptake Targets

Enough Hawke's Bay farmers have signed up for water from the proposed Ruataniwha Water Storage Scheme for it to go ahead as long as a cornerstone institutional capital investor can be found to back it, its regional council promoter announced. More>>

ALSO:

Reserve Bank: OCR Stays At 2.25%

Reserve Bank governor Graeme Wheeler kept the official cash rate at 2.25 percent, in a decision traders had said could go either way, while predicting inflation will pick up as the slump in oil prices washes out of the data and capacity pressures start to build in the economy. More>>

ALSO:

Export Values Down: NZ Posts Biggest Annual Trade Deficit In 7 Years

New Zealand has recorded its biggest annual trade deficit since April 2009, reflecting weaker prices of agricultural commodities such as dairy products, beef and lamb, and increased imports of vehicles and machinery. More>>

ALSO:

Currency Events: NZ's New $5 Note Wins International Banknote Award

New Zealand’s new Brighter Money $5 note has been named Banknote of the Year in a prestigious international competition. The $5 note was awarded the IBNS Banknote of the Year title at the International Bank Note Society’s annual meeting. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Business
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news