Interested in becoming a dairy sheep farmer? Then we want to talk to you.
Location Is Important
We’re looking for additional milk suppliers within a two-hour drive of Hamilton, where our milk processing plant is located. This catchment includes the greater Waikato, Bay of Plenty, and much of the Central Plateau.
Dairy farms that have good typography (“tractor country” that allows easy movement of ewes and crop management), soil fertility and some useful infrastructure can be easily converted.
Keep in mind that small farms that struggle in the competitive dairy cow industry can make excellent dairy sheep conversions. Dairy sheep farming is also more environmentally friendly and it’s easier to align this style of farming with environmental regulations.
Our Payout System
It’s pretty simple! Our payouts are based on milk solids: protein, milk fat, and lactose. Currently, our payout is $17/kgMS (because sheep milk is highly concentrated, at about 18%, this equates to about $3.00 per litre). No one can predict the long-term payout, but multi-year contracts are available now.
HOW VIABLE IS DAIRY SHEEP FARMING?
Your success will depend on your attitude and the intensity of your farming system. Here’s a couple of examples:
An extensive all outdoor grazing system delivering a yield of say 200 litres per ewe per lactation would have milk income of $600 per ewe. This means a small family farm with only 500 ewes could have a milk income of $300k at the current payout.
A 1000 ewe operation with a hybrid system might expect to target 300 litres per ewe per lactation. At the current payout this would generate $900 per ewe and total milk income of about $900k.
In both cases culls would contribute additional income. Wool may or may not cover the costs of shearing at current values.
Just as in any form of dairying, milk quality is vitally important. Suppliers are expected to comply with industry standards in relation to Somatic Cell Count and other key measures of milk quality.
Animal welfare is very important to us and this will be monitored in all supply farms.
Here are a couple of points to consider:
- Welfare of male lambs is particularly important and we currently supply these to specialist rearers (after two days on mum to ensure adequate colostrum).
- The provision of shelter and shade to livestock is essential.
We believe in looking after the planet, and improving the environmental sustainability of livestock farming is a high priority of Maui Milk.
Dairy sheep farming offers some intrinsic advantages over traditional dairying, but supply farms are expected to operate at a higher level than that demanded by regulation.
Come & Join The Team!
If you want to enter a stable, profitable and sustainable industry then sheep farming might be right for you. Get in touch with the team and we’ll help you assess your farm’s capabilities.
and get updates on our open days