Farmer Focus: Goats appear to be the ‘in thing’

We now have an industry body specific to dairy goats. Thanks go to Kelly Consulting for taking the initiative.

The Milking Goat Association had its first board meeting in April. Topping the agenda was the very fine supply and demand balance in the goat milk market.

There is a need for all producers to act responsibly and not expand without close consultation with their processor.

I would encourage all dairy goat farmers, large or small, to join up and have your say in the future of our industry.

See also: Read more of our Livestock Farmer Focus writers

After our first meeting I followed the chairman Will Frost down to his Dorset farm to purchase a few stud males. Will and his father Tim have been milk recording goats for a long time and have some excellent breeding stock.

Will has been genomic testing some of the goats recently and I hope his bloodlines will improve our goats.

Pneumonia spike

The goat kids have been growing well, but the recent warm days and cold nights have led to a few cases of pneumonia that required antibiotic and anti-inflammatory injections.

We have been weighing them regularly for the kid tracker project set up by Belmont vets.

TV visit

A delegation from a major supermarket visited last week prior to a factory tour. This was then followed a few days later by a film crew for ITV’s Coast & Country programme.

Goats are obviously the in thing for TV, following Charlie Whitehouse’s goats on Countryfile recently. It seems to take for ever to film what is only a few minutes on screen. Tommy and Megan enjoyed the experience and have never been so helpful on the farm.

Dimitri had a bad week. While hauling muck he met a white van man who wouldn’t reverse and got a green stripe down his brand-new van. Then, a few days later, he smashed the windscreen on the new JCB. We are just waiting for the third thing.

Massive congratulations to an old Harper friend, Belinda McClung, whose horse ‘One for Arthur’ won the Grand National. Closer to home our local Monmouthshire point to point was cancelled on the only wet Saturday in April.

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.