You can milk anything with nipples! That famous line from Meet the Parents shows my age, but it’s one often bantered about in our household (along with numerous Step Brothers refrains, I cringe to say – that’s what comes from living with hubbie and my three sons.)

And I guess it’s true. My sister has even milked a possum (and what incredibly long teats they have tucked away in their pouches and down their joey’s throat). An Australian study identified platypus milk as one very high in nutrients, but probably low in volume.

So you can milk any female with teats, but more importantly, what can you milk and sell the nutrients, and add high amounts of value?

That premise was where we started for this Special Report – Milking it.

Obviously we haven’t covered absolutely everything (apologies to the goat dairy farmers out there, we will get to you next time.)

Our intrepid Cantabrian Anne Lee even went to a camel dairy in Australia to file a story, and she found it fascinating – the milk sells for $20/ litre and has exciting nutrient benefits (pg44).

Our southern correspondent Karen Trebilcock got excited about the possibilities for deer milk, while sheep milking is becoming much more common, and comes with definite environmental advantages, both in nitrates leached and greenhouse gases emitted.

Delwyn Dickey from Northland learned all about large, horned water buffalo to investigate the harvesting of milk and manufacture of buffalo mozzarella – retailing for three times the price of dairy mozzarella (pg47).

Our team goes above and beyond and are passionate about what they do.

We were super proud to win five awards in Wellington at the annual Guild of Agricultural Journalists and Communicators Awards last month.

Anne Lee won the runner up to the MPI-sponsored Rongo Award (the big one!) for excellence in agri journalism for her series on contract milking, Karen Trebilcock won the Alliance Group Red Meat Sector award for a couple of dairy beef stories, and I was lucky enough to take out the DairyNZ-sponsored Dairy Industry award, for a piece I wrote on the ‘keeping it local’ ethos of Cartwheel Creamery and the Crams from Taranaki and their work establishing a monitored wetland under Project Interceptor.

One of our freelancers, Alan Gibson from Tauranga picked up the Federated Farmers photography award for a lovely picture of DIA Waikato Sharemilker award winners Brian Basi and Rachel Bunnik from the Cream of the Crop issue in April.

For Country-Wide magazine, our regular Marlborough freelance writer Jo Grigg picked up the Beef + Lamb NZ hard news award for her entry of two articles on He Waka Eke Noa and onfarm sequestration. And this week, both of our designers Jo Hannam and Emily Rees found out they are finalists in the Best Cover Award for the Magazine Publishers Awards.

A shout is in order!