Farmer Focus: Goat milk market will soon be oversupplied

It was good to get the suckler cows out earlier this month, strip-grazing some roots until the grass starts growing sufficiently.

Just over 500 goat kids have been born so far, with about 300 male kids sold to be reared for meat. We are considering using a Boer male – a meatier breed – on the lower-yielding goats as this market develops.

The last thing we need is surplus females going to start any more goat units. Considering the huge problems caused by oversupply in the cow milk sector, it is only a matter of time before the goat milk market is oversupplied. Some form of self-regulation will be required to avoid this problem.

See also: Read more from the livestock farmer focus writers 

We have had some scours in milking goats just after kidding. Our vet, Matthew Pugh, thinks it is caused by a sudden increase in TMR intakes, as other goats on the same ration are fine.

We have added yeast and are considering trying nutritionally improved straw, which is a new pelleted alkaline product that buffers acidic silage and provides digestible fibre. However, we don’t want to make too many changes to the diet at once.

See also: Lobby Welsh Assembly candidates for TB action

A new student has joined us. One of his first jobs was rolling, until he ran out of diesel. When I pointed out that the tractor had both a fuel gauge and a fuel warning light, Dimitri claimed not to be used to tractors with functioning fuel gauges.

NFU Cymru met to discuss the EU referendum. It was decided the best option for Welsh agriculture was to stay in the EU, mainly for access to markets and the uncertainty of Brexit.

I find it ironic that all UK politicians have been trying to cut direct payments to farmers for years under CAP reforms, yet some now assure us that we will still get payments if we exit the EU from the savings from not paying for EU membership.

However, if you think national politics is messy, it’s nothing compared with local hunt politics.

Through gritted teeth I should congratulate England on winning the Grand Slam.

Gary and Jess Yeomans run a herd of 700 milking goats across 100ha, which supplies a local cheese factory. They also own a small pedigree Welsh Black suckler herd to graze permanent pasture.