5 Feb 2016

Ice Cream for Ewe

From Country Life, 9:16 pm on 5 February 2016
Guy and Sue Trafford in the milking shed

The dairy shed Photo: RNZ / Cosmo Kentish-Barnes

Guy and Sue Trafford (above) are about to start milking sheep on their property near Darfield in Canterbury.

The milk from their flock of 200 ewes and 50 hoggets will be used to make ice cream and yoghurt.

Setting up a sheep milking operation has been a challenge for the couple who are both Lincoln University lecturers.

"It's not that the people we're dealing with are unreasonable, or what they ask is unreasonable, it's just the lack of a clear pathway of how to do it and the cost along the way that you incur seems unreasonable." Guy says.

The compliance work, especially for a small business that does not fit into an existing model was a major barrier.

"We needed planning consent and building act requirements and now we've got the food safety requirements, so it's a lot to get your head around really."

Until they have all the food safety requirements completed on site, an ice cream company has offered to make their ice cream on a toll basis. Their brand is going to be called Charing Cross which they've created to promote local sheep milk products.

In conjunction with Massey University's sheep dairy conference in March, Sue and Guy plan to have a practical workshop day on the farm for people who are interested in sheep milking.

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