The Top Sheep Milk Producing Countries In The World

Cheese processed from sheep's milk.
Cheese processed from sheep's milk.

Human beings depend on a few mammals like the cow, camel, goat, sheep, and buffalo for milk. Cow milk has been the most popular milk consumed by humans all over the world. Despite being unpopular, the sheep milk has some of the important merits that the cow’s milk lacks. For this reason, sheep milk has started to gain popularity in some parts of the world. Its global production continues to increase as people keep realizing the benefits they are guaranteed from consuming sheep milk.

Top Sheep Milk Producers

China leads the world in the production of sheep milk and mutton. Besides, it is also at the top of the list with the highest number of sheep in the world. China produces over 1.5 million tons of sheep milk annually. The China sheep industry is technologically supported. Most of the sheep dairy farming occurs in Qinghai and Tibetan Plateau. The sheep are reared by the farmers for commercial purposes, for the mutton, and for the sheep milk. Increased human population and sandstorms are some of the challenges facing sheep industry in China.

Over four million farmers in Turkey rear sheep. The production of sheep milk stands at over one million tons annually. The Turks prefer mutton and sheep milk over beef and goat milk. They also love sheep milk products like cheese and yogurt. Besides, they keep sheep for sacrifice in a traditional ceremony held annually, where over 2 million sheep are sacrificed. The most popular breed for mutton and sheep milk in Turkey is the white Karaman. Turkey exports sheep and dairy sheep products to Lebanon, Kuwait, and Dubai.

Sheep rearing for milk and mutton is one of the most vibrant economic activities practiced in the rural regions of Greece. The milk produced from sheep stands at 705,000 tons annually. Chios breed is one of the most popular dairy breeds of sheep in Greece. The sheep milk in Greece is used for consumption and processing of yogurt and cheese.

Awassi is the most popular breed of sheep among Syrian farmers. Syria produces approximately 648,578 tons of sheep milk annually. Milk from Awassi ewes is high quality with a significant amount of butterfat. The sheep are grazed in the mountains during spring and moved to the desert during winter. Mutton and sheep milk top the list of the most consumed livestock products in Syria. Besides, consumption, sheep rearing is one of the major contributors to Syria’s economy. Lack of feeds and folder especially in the desert graze lands is one of the challenges affecting sheep farming in Syria.

Benefits of Sheep Milk

Sheep milk has proven to be a better alternative to cow milk because of its benefits. It reduces the chances of being affected by cancer because of the high amounts of nucleotides it contains. It boosts the immune system because of the large amounts of Vitamins A and E which acts as antioxidants. Sheep milk has low cholesterol compared to cow milk. The high protein in sheep milk boosts growth and development. Sheep milk improves the chances of a safe delivery in females and a generally healthier reproductive health because it balances hormonal activities.

The Top Sheep Milk Producing Countries in the World

RankCountrySheep's Milk Production (Metric Tonnes)
1 China1,540,000
2 Turkey1,101,013
3 Greece705,000
4 Syria684,578
5 Romania632,582
6 Spain600,568
7 Sudan540,000
8 Somalia505,000
9 Iran470,000
10 Italy383,837

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