Origin & History
A unique New Zealand sheep dairy breed reserved for suppliers of the Spring Sheep Milk Company. The breed was designed specifically for sheep milking and the New Zealand pasture-based farming system. Their milk is used as the base for a range of nutritional products such as infant formulas, mid-seniors products and other formulas. Zealandia dairy sheep are currently only found in the North Island of New Zealand
The development of Zealandia® started in the 2015 with the purchase of select dairy sheep across New Zealand with dairy potential and cross breeding with pure East Friesian genetics linked to Dr Jock Allison’s original import of embryos in the 1990s.
In 2016 Spring Sheep Milk Company, undertook a global search and selected leading dairy genetics from Holland, UK, Italy and France. As a result, Spring Sheep Milk Company carried out the largest international dairy sheep embryo importation to New Zealand, with lambs from these breed lines being born in New Zealand in 2017.
Since 2017, the Zealandia® breeding program has continued to source the very best dairy sheep genetics from across Europe, with 1200-2400 ewes artificially inseminated annually with top preforming Zealandia® semen as well as select imported Lacaune, East Friesian and Manech semen.
By employing advanced breeding technologies, including DNA parentage, genomic breeding values and a comprehensive animal recording program, Zealandia® has become an established breed selected for performance in the New Zealand seasonal pasture-based sheep dairy farm system.
Through extensive measurements of over 35 traits annually, Zealandia® sheep have been selected to ensure genetic improvement in important dairy traits such as milk production, milk components, milkability and udder conformation, somatic cell count, structure soundness, worm resistance and methane output.