EXCITEMENT is building among New Zealand's high-end chefs over a new world-first.

Deer milk is now being sourced from 70 hinds in Southland to make cheese, desserts and even yoghurt.

The company behind the development is Pamu - formerly known as Landcorp.

"The first question we get from people walking by is: "How do you milk these things?" said Rob Ford, Pamu's general manager of innovation, environment and technology.

The answer is with a milking machine, but it's not easy and the deer have to be hand-reared.

"We're really excited by it. New Zealand agriculture really needs to start looking at alternative land use, looking at how we can go from volume to value," said Mr Ford.

So far the milk been made into a creme brulee, a handmade cheese, yoghurt and even a milk sorbet, and are being trialled in a number of high-end restaurants in Auckland.

The milk has been described as having a delicate flavour that is really subtle and savoury.

Market round-up

C&D Auction Marts Ltd had no prime cattle forward in Dumfries on Wednesday, but in the rough ring 17 beef cows averaged 134p per kg and 33 dairy cows levelled at 100.9p.

The firm also sold 869 prime lambs to a top of £85.50 per head and 193p per kg to average 170p (-4p on the week).

The 466 cast sheep forward saw heavy ewes sell to £114.50 for Texels and average £74.68, while light/export-type ewes peaked at £75.50 for Cheviots and levelled at £48.59.

Messrs Craig Wilson Ltd sold 808 prime lambs in Newton Stewart on Wednesday to a top of £86.50 and 191.9p to average 170.5p (-2.3p).

There were also 190 heavy cast ewes that sold to £148 for Texels and averaged £70.63, while 252 light ewes peaked at £83.20 for Cheviots and levelled at £43.60.