9 January 1998

Danes go for 3-year quarantine

Danish goat breeders are

imposing a three-year

quarantine on imported

stock. Michael Gaisford

reports from the FW

Goat Study Tour

IN AN attempt to maintain their high health status, Danish goat breeders have introduced a three-year quarantine period for stock freely imported from other EU countries under the recently introduced open market arrangements. Similar schemes are also in place in Denmark for cattle and sheep.

Health controls

These unique Danish animal health controls were revealed on the 13th annual farmers weekly Goat Study Tour to Denmark, where their implications are having a serious effect on the rapidly expanding Danish dairy goat business.

Most of the dairy goats inspected on the study tour were of mediocre quality and the farmers were desperate for new blood to improve performance of their mainly Danish Land and Anglo Nubian cross milkers. Although a few high quality Anglo Nubians, Saanens and Toggenburgs have been imported recently from Britain, they will not be available to Danish dairy goat farmers for three years under the Danes self-imposed quarantine scheme.

On most of the farms visited the 305-day herd milk yield was in the range 650-750kg, with target yields of only 800kg-900kg being set when better bucks are available to boost herd performances. This compares with average 305-day yields from the better British dairy goat herds which are now well in excess of 1000kg.

Dorte Sorensens 200-head herd is grazed through the summer and autumn and fed on a grass and maize silage-based diet in winter.