Kiwi dairy farms need to start producing A2 milk

Professor Keith Woodford saw the potential in A2 years ago and is urging New Zealand dairy farmers to adapt their herds to produce the milk.

“The average New Zealand farmer still has not got the message and a few years down the track I think that’s going to be a tragedy.”

The former Lincoln University academic spoke to The Country’s Jamie Mackay about the success of A2 milk and the past failure of dairy co-ops Fonterra and Westland to recognise it.

Originally Fonterra had a 50 per cent share in the key patent for A2, says Woodford but “they convinced themselves that A2 wasn’t going anywhere.”

“Now of course they’ve changed their minds and they do have a strategic partnership with the A2 milk company but they haven’t really put the message out to farmers that farmers need to get on to the conversion process.”

Woodford urges small farmers to “get on the journey,” to breeding an A2 herd, saying “it’s a no-brainer.”

Another major constraint for co-ops such as Fonterra and Westland has been a lack of retained earnings compared to Tatua, says Woodford.

“Tatua’s always understood for 20 years or more that you have to retain earnings. This is the way you grow and this is how you fund new things … it’s pretty easy to be retaining funds when you’re earning lots of money.”

On the other hand Fonterra and Westland have retained “very, very little,” according to Woodford who says both companies have “allowed themselves to be influenced by farmer pressure.”

You can listen to Professor Keith Woodford speak on A2 milk here.