For more details please email organizers at:

Draft Timetable

Draft Timetable


There are currently five commercial sheep dairy operations in NZ. Three small operators making cheese or supplying milk to cheese makers and two large operators: Waituhi Kuratau Trust near Turangi currently produces own-brand yoghurt and milk for cheese makers, and (the much larger) Blue River Dairy near Invercargill producing cheese and powder mostly for export markets.  

While sheep dairying has something of a chequered past in NZ, with a series of failed enterprises during the 1996-2004 period, the developing success of the current operators, changes to the global ‘palate’, various economic drivers and contributions from various institutions and entities has created significant interest in the industry’s further development in New Zealand - particularly as a producer of high-value specialty foods and related products that take advantage of ewe milk’s particular characteristics.

It is in response to this that Massey University’s Ewe Can Dairy Group together with AgResearch and with support from Landcorp, FoodHQ, Destination Manawatu, Agmardt, Lincoln University and the NZ Society for Animal Production will host the NZ Ewe Milk Product and Sheep Dairying Conference in the Manawatu on February 19th and 20th.



Five practical workshops addressing topics, issues, and problems surrounding  (1) ewe milk product consumers and markets, (2) processing and manufacturing,  (3) sheep dairy farm operations, (4) sheep genetics (5) industry structure and organization.  We welcome contributions to these workshop please complete details on this paper (link)

Keynote addresses:

Honorary guest: Keith Neylon (owner of Blue River Dairy),

International Guest: John Ryrie (Chair of the UK Sheep Dairy Association)

Local Guest: Lucy Cruickshank (2014 Nuffield Scholar).

Sheep Milk Exploratorium: Our conference engagement space that will feature sheep milking, product creation and sheep milk product sampling and tasting.

Conference Sponsors


  • To create opportunities for potential new entrants, existing industry members, and the wider food and agriculture community to share practitioner and research-based knowledge, expertise, and experiences that contributes to the development of NZ’s sheep dairy industry. In this regard, the conference may contribute to establishing a NZ Sheep Dairy Society and potentially toward the development of a NZ Sheep Milk Cooperative.
  • To create a focus of attention for the wider public, media, government, local government and industry stakeholders that provokes interest and engagement with sheep milk products and sheep dairying as a novel and potentially important contributor to a diversified, high value and sustainable NZ dairy sector.
  • To create a focal point of attention for the FoodHQ community (e.g. staff of FoodHQ partners). The event will be held at the ‘town centre’ of the FoodHQ campus and we hope to demonstrate through the conference and its particular features, ways of contributing to the development of new food based industries that exemplify FoodHQ’s aims.

For help and enquiries, please contact:


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