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Supporting the growth of the dairy sheep industry in New Zealand–industry update and review of a programme linking industry and science

journal contribution
posted on 2024-03-22, 00:47 authored by Sue McCoardSue McCoard, David StevensDavid Stevens, Diana SelbieDiana Selbie, Li DayLi Day, Wayne Young, Alaa El-Din Bekhit, Linda SamuelssonLinda Samuelsson

Commercial sheep milking is an emerging industry in New Zealand (NZ). The purpose of this review is to provide a brief industry update and to provide an overview of a six-year research programme spanning on-farm production and environmental footprint, through to milk composition, processing, and functionality, and its contribution to both fundamental knowledge and practical information for the NZ dairy sheep value chain. Key outcomes of the research programme included: the development of a suite of lamb-rearing regimes to utilise all offspring as either replacement or for meat production; improved feeding management of ewes to enhance milk production; best-practice guidelines for effluent management; evaluation of nitrogen leaching to inform practices to minimise the impact on waterways; establishing an understanding of the composition of sheep milk produced under NZ farming conditions and the functional differences compared to milk from other species to support product development opportunities. A summary of the industry impacts from this research and future directions is also provided.


AgResearch Strategic Science Investment Fund [Grant Number PRJ0120608]

Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment [Grant Number C10X1305]

Spring Sheep Milk Co. Primary Growth Partnership Horizon 3 programme [Grant Number A27244]


Rights statement

© 2023 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis GroupThis is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License (, which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in anymedium, provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way.

Publication date


Project number

  • PRJ0120608


  • English

Does this contain Māori information or data?

  • No


Taylor & Francis Group

Journal title

New Zealand Journal of Agricultural Research



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