A $50 million dollar milk spray dryer to be built in Hamilton next year will help New Zealand's advance in infant formula and specialty ingredients.
The investment will support Pamu Farms (formerly Landcorp) partnership with Spring Sheep, add value within and beyond the farm gate, and grow the sheep milk industry.
Spring Sheep has been milking for three seasons, and was established after recognising the global trend towards alternative dairy products.
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With a US$8 billion dollar industry in the United States, CEO Scottie Chapman says the introduction of sheep milking to New Zealand was a no-brainer.
"New Zealand's really good at milking cows, we're really good at farming sheep - why haven't we put the two together?"
"Now we're creating a new high-value industry for New Zealand around sheep milk," he says.
The short-term goal is to set up an industry at a scale that allows for export to Asia, where the product is already popular.
"We need to get our volumes up, be able to spray dry, and then create high-value products."
Long-term, Mr Chapman says there will be a lot of opportunities.
"As there's more exposure to sheep milk and more people understand it, there's going to be more and more opportunities for those growers as well."
Construction of the spray dryer is expected to begin this month for start-up by November 2019.
Listen to the the full interview with Scottie Chapman above.