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

 

Budget Building Battle: Bill English Blames Council On Housing

The Nation: Finance Minister blames Auckland Council for housing shortage, saying it is responsible for land, housing and infrastructure supply in the city, while government provides rental subsidies... More>>

ALSO:

Megiaglommeration: NZME And Fairfax Apply For Authorisation To Merge

The Commerce Commission has received an application from Wilson and Horton Limited (trading as NZME) and Fairfax NZ Limited seeking authorisation to merge their media operations in New Zealand. More>>

ALSO:

Brewing: Lion To Buy Cult Upper Hutt Brewer Panhead

Lion - Beer, Spirits and Wine (NZ), New Zealand's biggest beer maker, has agreed to buy Panhead Custom Ales from the family of founder Mike Neilson, its second such purchase of a popular craft brewer after the acquisition of Dunedin-based Emerson's Brewing Co in 2012. More>>

ALSO:

Half Empty: Fonterra's 2017 Opening Forecast Below Expectations

Fonterra Cooperative Group raised its forecast farmgate milk payout for next season by less than expected as the world's largest dairy exporter predicts lower prices will crimp production and supply will pick up. The New Zealand dollar fell. More>>

ALSO:

Pest Control: Mouse Blitz Team Leaves For Antipodes

The Million Dollar Mouse project to rid Antipodes Island of mice is underway with the departure of a rodent eradication team to the remote nature reserve and World Heritage Area. More>>

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Business
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news