Two determined Woodville farmers have overcome mountains of paperwork and huge compliance costs to begin milking sheep and successfully making cheese.

Kirsty Silvester and David Chapman first began milking Romney ewes in 2013, purchasing Poll Dorset ewes to get their milking flock started but because some of the white sheep suffer from sunburnt ears in the summer, they started experimenting with breeding from black sheep to try and combat this problem.

Now they've 80 East Friesian and crossed East Friesian Wiltshire sheep on their property, with a milking herd of 19 this season.

"It's been fantastic, but with Woodville quite damp, we're experimenting with our united nations of sheep," Kirsty said. "My husband David is in charge of animal husbandry, deciding which ram will go to which girl and he keeps them happy while I do the milking."


Now Wild Bush is in the sheep cheese business, but it hasn't been easy.

"There was 500 pages of Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) regulations to cope with and the cost structure is set up for big companies, but if no one does it, then it'll never get done," Kirsty said.

On Saturday, Kirsty and her father John, the sheep apprentice, had a stall at Dannevirke's Country Carnival Market, selling a range of feta, pecorino and halloumi cheeses.

The market proved very successful and Kirsty said with the response to their product, she's planning on attending again.

"We've also had a great response to the first of our cheesemaking courses on April 23. We're going to try and run them once a month during the off season."