Sheep milk project off to a good start

The Lands at Whangara had their hands full during the lamb rearing season, looking after several hundred hungry youngsters. Here 12-year-old Carlos Land gets the meal organised.Pictures supplied

The Lands at Whangara had their hands full during the lamb rearing season, looking after several hundred hungry youngsters. Here 12-year-old Carlos Land gets the meal organised. Pictures supplied
Lamb Rearing
Lamb Rearing
Sheep Milking
Sheep Milking

Initial efforts by Mokairau Farm at Whangara to raise ewes for sheep milk cheese production have proved fruitful.

Mokairau sent its first mob of 300 Poll Dorset/East Friesian cross ewes out to Rick Thorpe’s property at Manutuke about the middle of last year, and another 350 have gone there since.

“I would say the project has gone pretty well so far,” said Mokairau Farm’s Mangaone Station manager Nick Land.

“We have had a few teething problems at our end, but once we sorted the milk powder out for the ewes’ lambs, it went well.”

Nick, wife Sophie and their children, Carlos, 12, Natalie, 10, and Cory, eight, hand-reared the lamb crop.

“Even little three-year-old Kaitlyn joined in to help out.

“It’s fair to say Sophie and the children did most of the work,” Nick said.

The family were busy hand-rearing the lambs over a three-month period.

They had a PVC pipe fixed up with 60 teats on it to get the milk into the lambs’ hungry mouths.

“Once that feed supply system was sorted, we were all a lot happier.

“Once they were weaned off the milk, they went on to meal and then the ewe lambs went out to Manutuke.

“Rick reared another 80 lambs out at his place.”

Nick said Ovation took quite a few of the male lambs for processing for a restaurant chain in New York.

“They were 16-18kg live weight, perfect for a chain that specialises in very sweet meat.”

Nick said overall from Mokairau Farm’s viewpoint, it had been a good start and they were all looking forward to next season.

Rick Thorpe echoed those comments: “It’s gone really well in the first season. We’re still learning heaps.”

They ended up milking 450 of the ewes that arrived at Manutuke.

“Milk production was OK but not startling.

“We are looking forward to next year when we can introduce a second cross crop of hoggets into the programme, which should mean better ewe milk production as the better genetics kick in.”

One of the challenges was getting the sheep to go into the milking parlour, he said.

“It’s certainly different to milking cows, but the sheep learned eventually, off each other actually. Once we got the first third of them trained up in the shed, the remaining ewes flowed through the shed a lot easier. They basically followed the leader, as sheep do.”

Waimata Cheese has made a range of cheeses out of the milk.

“Some feta, a brie, a blue and we have our manchego variety of Spanish hard cheese ripening,” Rick said.

“The blue and brie are stunning.”

Initial efforts by Mokairau Farm at Whangara to raise ewes for sheep milk cheese production have proved fruitful.

Mokairau sent its first mob of 300 Poll Dorset/East Friesian cross ewes out to Rick Thorpe’s property at Manutuke about the middle of last year, and another 350 have gone there since.

“I would say the project has gone pretty well so far,” said Mokairau Farm’s Mangaone Station manager Nick Land.

“We have had a few teething problems at our end, but once we sorted the milk powder out for the ewes’ lambs, it went well.”

Nick, wife Sophie and their children, Carlos, 12, Natalie, 10, and Cory, eight, hand-reared the lamb crop.

“Even little three-year-old Kaitlyn joined in to help out.

“It’s fair to say Sophie and the children did most of the work,” Nick said.

The family were busy hand-rearing the lambs over a three-month period.

They had a PVC pipe fixed up with 60 teats on it to get the milk into the lambs’ hungry mouths.

“Once that feed supply system was sorted, we were all a lot happier.

“Once they were weaned off the milk, they went on to meal and then the ewe lambs went out to Manutuke.

“Rick reared another 80 lambs out at his place.”

Nick said Ovation took quite a few of the male lambs for processing for a restaurant chain in New York.

“They were 16-18kg live weight, perfect for a chain that specialises in very sweet meat.”

Nick said overall from Mokairau Farm’s viewpoint, it had been a good start and they were all looking forward to next season.

Rick Thorpe echoed those comments: “It’s gone really well in the first season. We’re still learning heaps.”

They ended up milking 450 of the ewes that arrived at Manutuke.

“Milk production was OK but not startling.

“We are looking forward to next year when we can introduce a second cross crop of hoggets into the programme, which should mean better ewe milk production as the better genetics kick in.”

One of the challenges was getting the sheep to go into the milking parlour, he said.

“It’s certainly different to milking cows, but the sheep learned eventually, off each other actually. Once we got the first third of them trained up in the shed, the remaining ewes flowed through the shed a lot easier. They basically followed the leader, as sheep do.”

Waimata Cheese has made a range of cheeses out of the milk.

“Some feta, a brie, a blue and we have our manchego variety of Spanish hard cheese ripening,” Rick said.

“The blue and brie are stunning.”

Your email address will not be published. Comments will display after being approved by a staff member. Comments may be edited for clarity.

Poll

  • Voting please wait...
    Your vote has been cast. Reloading page...
    Do you think the speed limit on SH35 at Tamarau, Okitu and Wainui should be reduced to 50kmh, and the end of Okitu to the end of Tatapouri be reduced to 70kmh?​


    See also: Slow down