Members, who came from near and far, were based at the Victoria Hotel in Llanberis over the weekend, where they discussed the work of the association and learnt more about this extraordinary breed of sheep
The sheep, which originated from the Sarn Mellteyrn area in Lleyn, are easy to handle, fertile with a special maternal instinct, milky without being overfed. The Lleyn sheep are able to integrate naturally into various situations and are suitable for highlands as well as lowlands.
Rhodri Manod Owen, Glynllifon farm manager, said: “It was a pleasure to be able to welcome members of the society from across England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland to the college. Our flock of Lleyn sheep here at the college is now well-established and we have very ambitious plans for the flock in the coming years.
“Our hope is to utilise the flock’s milk, as sheep's milk is the most nutritious milk on sale in the world today. It is ideal for cheese production as it contains twice as many solids compared to cows’ or goats’ milk. Ten litres of cow's milk are used to make 1kg of gouda cheese, compared to only five litres of sheep's milk.
“The possibilities for us as a college within this area are very exciting. And according to recent research, the Lleyn sheep breed is one of the best in the world for this type of farming."
With a significant increase in the demand for sheep's milk - with countries such as China importing approximately £700 million of sheep's milk in 2021 - the market is one that is growing significantly, year-on-year.
Rhodri Manod Owen added: “Wales is recognised all over the world for the quality of its sheep, and bi-products such as wool and lamb. Therefore, we are in an extremely good position to take full advantage of the sheep's milk market, and the college is looking forward to realising these ideas in the coming years."
Before the members of the association moved on to Aberdaron for lunch, and a trip around Pen Llyn, there was an opportunity for members to taste a variety of sheep milk cheeses from across Wales.