Combining The Best of Both Worlds
New Zealand is famous for pastoral milk production and sheep farming so it makes sense to combine these skills when creating farming systems for dairy sheep.
Not all dairy sheep breeds are well suited to the New Zealand environment, so we are developing a new breed of hardy dairy sheep that can excel in New Zealand conditions. This will allow us to optimise efficiency through grazing systems and gives us an important point of difference from other countries where dairy sheep are commonly housed in barns.
Hybrid System? Or Outside All The Time?
When choosing a dairy sheep farming system for your farm you need to think about your facilities. In New Zealand dairy sheep tend to be outside all the time, or in a “hybrid” system where barns are used when there is a benefit to the health and welfare of the sheep (eg in cold/wet, or hot/sunny conditions, during lambing, or throughout facial eczema season).
WHAT’S THE TRADE-OFF?
Outside All The Time
- Lower capital & operating costs
- Lower production yield per ewe
- Good option for new conversions during the first couple of years as ewes are upgraded genetically
- Sheep need some hardy New Zealand genes to handle conditions
- Higher capital investment in infrastructure & equipment
- Higher operating costs
- Good investment choice as breeding moves towards a predominance of European milk genes (higher production, less hardy animal)
- Higher milk yields
- Health and animal welfare benefits
Maui Milk Farms
Our supply farms fall into both categories. Waituhi Kuratau Trust is all outdoors while Waikino Station is operating a hybrid system.
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