18 May 2018

Ewe & Me

From Country Life, 9:27 pm on 18 May 2018

Julie Brownlee's office is the outdoors. Her co-workers are a flock of delightful dairy sheep.

The 25-year-old runs a sheep milking farm in the Neudorf Valley near Nelson.

Julie Brownlee

Photo: RNZ/Cosmo Kentish-Barnes

Julie always wanted to work with animals, but the traditional careers of sheep and beef farming or milking cows didn't appeal to her.

Straight out of school, she gained a Primary ITO qualification and found work on a sheep milking farm in the Neudorf Valley.

She's never looked back.

"Now I've taken over the farm and me and my partner bought the operation three years ago, so we lease the farm but we own all the sheep and it's our business."

Julie says she loves her girls.

"Quite a few of them have names... We've got Goat and Cat and Camel and Cherry, Charlie and Missy, just to name a few. I spend all day every day with them so it's just inevitable that that happens!"

Julie 's goal is to get the ewes to produce 250 to 300 litres per season. A normal milking season lasts about eight months.

The milk is supplied to Thorvald – a company that produces sheep's milk cheese and yoghurt in a factory right next to Julie's milking shed.