Deniliquin Pastoral Times

A milk of a different kind

Three camels and a 43 hectare block. That’s all it took for Megan and Chris

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But the establishm­ent of Camel Milk Co Australia in Kyabram was not as out of the blue for the couple as it seemed for the community.

Their relationsh­ip began through camels while working at a station in Alice Springs 13 years ago.

Watching wild camels wandering the desert was a favourite pastime, and it seemed the animals had them entranced. And so they had to have some of their own. They took the leap after watching a documentar­y about camel milk, and while both have a background in traditiona­l dairy farming there was a lot of trial and error.

With no other camel dairies in Victoria at the time, and little recognitio­n of the industry nationally, Megan said “There was nothing easy about getting a camel dairy started,” she said. “In 2014 camel milk was not even recognised in the National Dairy Act, alone in the state. encountere­d hiccups when we wanted to export.

“That’s why we were involved in the push to have the industry recognised with Dairy Food Safety Victoria.”

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Through their original trio of camels— two adults and one calf — Megan and Chris quickly learned the ‘dos’ and the ‘don’ts’, and say their stubbornne­ss also taught them

The years following brought regular purchases of wild camels, as well as population growth through on farm breeding.

Today, they have more than 500 camels.

Of those, 200 are currently in a dairying

“The farming side of things is very similar to cows, but camels do need a lot of time and patience.

“They come from the wild, some are calm and others are quite free spirited, but it normally does not take long to get them in to milking. specialist camel dairy equipment, but we mostly use regular dairy

rotation

“There is equipment.

“And we pasteurise the milk ourselves on farm.”

While camel milk differs widely from cows’ milk, the Williams’ say there are

“Camel milk has 25 per cent less lactose than cows’ milk, and potassium, magnesium, copper, iron, zinc and sodium,” Megan said.

“It is lower in cholestero­l and it also has naturally occurring antibacter­ial and antiviral properties.”

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