Making the switch

Anthony Sheppard tells his story.
I was born in UK, came to NZ in June 2000 to dairy farm as unless you owned a farm it was hard to get into dairying over there (never been back).

I was extremely lucky that my first bosses were so good to me and treated me like one of the family and I loved NZ right from the start.

In November 2015 I managed a drystock – and then a dairy farm for Antara Ag in Invercargill. To be honest I have never been so excited at an interview and has been completely hooked since. We did large scale milking  – 2500-3000 ewes.

After a year back in cows I applied for my current role,  Dairy manager for Spring Sheep milk Co at there largest operation. This is my 4th season. Milk about 2000 ewes twice a day.

I feel so lucky to be part of such an exciting and innovative industry, it’s great to now see other farmers deciding to convert their farms to sheep dairy and grow Spring Sheep’s milk pool. I have such supportive employers that respect my knowledge and enthusiasm for what we do. You can’t fake passion. I don’t have a job – farming’s just what I do

The sheep are a blast to work with, all have different characters and are far cleaner to milk! And it’s great tasting and healthy alternative to other milks.

During my time on this farm I have brought basic dairy farming practices in like: strong milk focussed pasture management, fully fed happy animals and, I am constantly looking for new ways and ideas to improve on what we do. We are reaping the rewards in cohesion with advancing sheep dairy genetics.

I encourage any farmers that are looking for a new challenge and want to be part of the future of dairying in NZ to give it a go. For me the exciting parts of farming sheep milk are: the huge opportunities in the industry for future growth, more farms coming on, potential sharemilking and contract milking opportunities and staff training programmes.

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