The New Zealand Sheep Milk Co brand is part of the Blue River Dairy family of sheep milk brands. Blue River is the leading sheep milk specialists in New Zealand. Their portfolio of products includes award winning cheeses, ice cream, milk powder and formulated products. Based in the heart of Southland, New Zealand the success of the company is closely linked to the rich farming land of the southern riving valleys and rolling pastures on which the sheep happily graze and provide the rich, sweet milk that creates today’s current range of unique products.
Blue River prides itself on being able to deliver a secure continuous supply chain, one of the first in the world to do so. Their research and development over the last decade has made Blue River the leading sheep milk specialists. Blue River operates a fully vertically integrated company which enables them to control every aspect of their production – from pasture to plate. This unique system allows quality control throughout the whole process ensuring that only the most premium products are delivered to both New Zealand and Worldwide markets.
NZ Sheep Milk Co Vertically Integrated System
This entire closed-loop system is owned, operated and quality assured by Blue River Dairy.
Blue River Dairy owns four sheep farms in total this includes three milking platforms and one run-off property. Our breed includes a mixture of East Friesian and Poll Dorset which are selected based on seasonality and milk production supply. Blue River Dairy milk occurs twice a day, 365 days of the year. Batches of ewes are bred to synchronized cycles to allow lambing to occur every four weeks. We pride ourselves on having state of the art technology on all farms. Ewes are rewarded with barley or molasses during milking and their individual milk yield are recorded against their electronic ID twice daily. The data is used to identify top performing milking ewes for genetic selection. The safety and welfare of our sheep is extremely important, the process that we have adopted enforces a very high standard of practice for animal health and hygiene to ensure this.
Sheep milk (ewe’s milk) is highly nutritious, richer in vitamins A, B, and E, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, and magnesium than cow’s milk. It contains a higher proportion of short- and medium-chain fatty acids, which have recognized health benefits. For example, short-chain fatty acids have little effect on cholesterol levels in people.
Sheep milk has more conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) than the milk from goats, cows, and humans. CLA is a cancer-fighting, fat-reducing fat. The fat globules in sheep milk are smaller than the fat globules in cow’s milk, making sheep milk more easily digested.
Sheep milk has a higher solids content than goat or cow milk. As a result, more cheese can be produced from a gallon of sheep milk than a gallon of goat or cow milk. Sheep milk yields 18 to 25 percent cheese, whereas goat and cow milk only yield 9 to 10 percent.
Blue River operates its own fleet of tankers which pick up every day to ensure only the freshest sheep milk is used in all of Blue Rivers’ products including New Zealand Sheep
Processing and Packaging
The production process at Blue River Dairy starts with receipting of the raw milk from the Blue River tanker. All our milk is pasteurised (heat treated) to ensure that it is safe for crafting into our fine product range.
The New Zealand Sheep Milk Formula Range is manufactured at our Invercargill processing plant to a specifically formulated recipe developed by a world renowned Infant formula expert. We take the sheep milk and its natural goodness and add in other ingredients in a batch wetmix process before evaporation and spray drying to create the finished formula milk powder. The infant formula is then canned in a modified atmosphere (gas flushing) to lock in the goodness and ensure our customers receive only the most premium produc. We pride ourselves on producting a product that is the same condition as the day it was manufactured.
The manufacturing process is modern and only installed and commissioned in late 2013. The production team is made up of people that are very passionate about what they do and take care at every step of the process to ensure we constantly delivery a quality product for our customers.