Taranaki farmers will witness 1600 sheep being milked at an upcoming Beef and Lamb event.
At the end of the month, Parininihi Ki Waitotara’s (PKW) farm in Normanby will host Taranaki farmers for the Beef and Lamb NZ Taranaki Farming for Profit Field Day.
PKW operations manager Mike Swift says the ewes will be milked in two sheds.
“There will be 1100 ewes milked in one shed and 500 milked in the other. Both of the sheds are brand new so it will be great to show the process of sheep milking to our Taranaki farmers.”
PKW Miraka Hipi (Sheep milking) is the formation of two sheep milking platforms, 50ha Waitokorau and 70ha Koetuku. Both farms are former bovine dairy and dairy replacement grazing farms.
The full conversion including two new dairy sheds, barns, fencing and supporting infrastructure was commissioned in June 2022 with the first milk supplied to Spring Sheep Milk Company in August and bound for the export market in the form of infant formula.
PKW supply the milk to Spring Sheep Milk Company and is one of only 16 suppliers to the company throughout the country.
Not just any sheep can be milked, MIke says, with it taking six to eight years to build up the right genetics for the perfect type of sheep.
“They are Zealandia ewes, a specific milk breed. At these two particular farms in Normanby, the farms have been referenced and cater for a large lambing rearing facility. All of the lambs are hand-reared off their mum and then put onto an automatic feeder. It is fairly the same milking system as dairy cows.”
Sheep milk has a number of benefits, including high protein.
“Sheep milk is very good for you. Our sheep have maize grain and other in-shed supplements to make them the very best.”
Mike says the open day will be insightful.
“It will be a unique event to attend which will showcase traditional sheep farming and milking sheep. It will be an information day. We will be there to answer all their questions. We aim to promote sheep dairy in the province and also to help grow the sheep dairy industry in Taranaki.”
Ellie Cranswick, from Sheppard Agriculture, is co-ordinating the event. She says it is going to be interesting and encourages all to attend.
“It will be a great afternoon with PKW and visiting a working sheep farm. It’s going to be a very informative day for our Taranaki farmers. We look forward to seeing you there.”
What: Beef and Lamb NZ Taranaki Farming for Profit Field Day.
When: Wednesday, February 22, 12.30pm-4.30pm.
Where: KW Miraka Hipi, Spring Sheep Farm Supply Number 301-405 Mawhitiwhiti Rd, Normanby, Taranaki
Register: To register for the event, visit https://beeflambnz.com/events/blnz-taranaki-farming-profit-field-day-0