Garrick Batten on why there aren't more goats on pastoral farms.
Just back from speaking at an international dairy goat conference in China, Waikato Milking Systems’ China sales manager David Morris says the industry is experiencing a growth spiral comparable to that of dairying a few years ago.
“Traditionally, Chinese farmers have milked a small number of goats -- about 20 to 40 – but the demand for infant goat formula has skyrocketed and, with it, demand for a home-grown product.
“Chinese consumers have an almost insatiable demand for goat milk because of its protein levels and digestibility; this demand is of course enhanced by there having been no food safety scares associated with it.”
Morris said the conference, in Shaanxi Province, coincided with the opening of a new goat processing facility, attracting 2000 people -- farmers, processors, veterinarians and support industries.
“There is already a huge processing capacity in China: factories can process milk from 200,000 goats per day, and more factories are being built.”
WMS was one of four keynote presenters at the conference, the other three focusing on managing, feeding and housing dairy goats, and genetics.
“The transition from a few to hundreds of thousands of goats marks a significant change for farmers, whether they are small family operations or large corporates. My presentation was on how, regardless of numbers, WMS’s dairy goat rotary platform provides the optimum environment to easily and efficiently milk large numbers of goats.”
Morris said the company’s goat rotaries are available in a range of sizes from 50 to 100+ bails.
“With support from our China dealer, we provide a complete turnkey service to farmers wanting to make the transition to large scale commercial supply with design of all operational aspects of the farm.
“We have a long, growing list of Chinese farmers who want to utilise this service, the average aiming to milk 2000 to 3000 goats through an 80 bail WMS platform.
“Each rotary is manufactured in New Zealand to ensure consistently high standards, and then shipped to China in kitset form. The milking system is modular and automated, with full herd records and it is fully operational within weeks,” Morris said.