Farmer Focus: Plentiful goat milk supports Johne’s culling

I have been talking about oversupply in the goat milk market for months, but it has now reached a tipping point, with our processor asking farmer suppliers to reduce milk volumes for a period. Fortunately, the milk price is not being cut at the moment.

If all the producers react quickly it will only be a relatively short-term problem to reduce some stocks and rebalance the market.

As part of these measures all herds have been asked to start blood testing for Johne’s disease and gradually culling any positive goats.

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This will help to improve our herds for the future, although we will have to be careful not to swamp local livestock markets with cull goats at the same time.


We are in the Johne’s testing scheme for the Welsh Black cows and the vet took the annual blood samples this month. At the same time, we got him to check that all the cows are cycling, ready to go back to the bull, to maintain a tight calving pattern.

We also castrated the bull calves and disbudded a couple that had horns, although the polled bull worked well.

The contractors planted our maize on 2 May into good seed-beds, although they were a little dry.

We always use a pre-emergence herbicide, so we are hoping for some moisture to help its effectiveness. The peas and barley undersown with grass and red clover last month is in desperate need of significant rain.

Maiden goatlings have just started kidding and we need to foot-trim the whole herd this month.

Like hundreds of other Welsh farmers, I attended a Farming Connect “Farming for the Future” event recently.

It is a requirement of the farm business grant that a member of the business attends, to be eligible for the 40% grant on a comprehensive list of farm equipment.

It is an excellent use of RDP funding, compared with other schemes, but it will be oversubscribed and the scoring system will be a lucky dip.

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.