Sheep Milk: The Final Frontier?
June 20, 2014

New Zealand's largest corporate farm, Landcorp, is eyeing the sheep dairy world publicly. With 137 farms in New Zealand, Landcorp owns 1.4 percent of New Zealand's land base.

At a meeting last week, Landcorp chief executive officer announced that sheep milk was being explored by the company. While New Zealand is now dominated by dairy, at its peak, the country held 70.3 million sheep in 1982. Today, 31 million sheep remain, keeping it by far the most numerous farmed animal on the islands.

The market for sheep cheese would be the United States, as it already imports about half the sheep-milk cheese in the world. Globally, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization estimates the global share of sheep milk at 1.4 percent.

Sheep milk contains more solids than cow milk. There are about 100 sheep milk farms in the United States and only two in New Zealand.

Statistics show that in South East Asia sheep milk accounts for 3.9 percent of milk production, in China it is 4.2 percent while in North Africa and the Middle East, it is 7.5 percent.

Reprinted in part from Radio NZ