Goats have been used for milk production for at least 9,000 years, but in New Zealand dairy goats are a relatively recent introduction.
The research will be a result of the formation last August of Caprine Innovations NZ (CAPRINZ), a five-year $29.65 million partnership between the Ministry for Primary Industries and Dairy Goat Co-op Ltd.
CAPRINZ, through clinical trials and on farm research, aims to amass research data about goat milk infant formula products for health professionals advising clients or patients on feeding options when exclusive breast-feeding is not feasible.
DGC chief executive David Hemara said they plan to do international consumer research and on farm studies to better understand goat milk’s environmental footprint and clinical research.
“Goals include providing information based on sound scientific research into goat milk formula, growing research and farming capability, and increasing export revenue in the NZ dairy goat milk industry to $400 million per annum by 2023,” Hemara said.
“CAPRINZ also aims to create 400 new jobs on farms, double the size of the country’s milking goat herd to about 100,000, improve dairy goat farming practice and sustainable production, and boost the industry’s capability.”
The clinical research work will complement focus groups DGC says it has done world-wide canvassing the views and concerns of parents, caregivers, paediatricians and health practitioners.
Hemara said DGC is “working with an international board of paediatricians who provide insight into the type of research their members and audiences need to validate perceptions about goat milk infant formula”.
“At home, the CAPRINZ programme has been a catalyst for extending our science capabilities.
“We have always been strong in research to understand the unique properties of goat milk. Our clinical trials have researched the functional differences of goat milk for infants and young children.
“But until this partnership we had not been able to combine both fields of study. The CAPRINZ partnership has enabled us to expand our capacity for pre-clinical and clinical research which we hope will add data to the body of scientific knowledge and benefit the industry and the economy.
“Our on farm research will develop practical tools to build capability and support the sustainable and environmentally balanced growth of the industry,” Hemara said.
Two scientists and a marketing manager have been appointed:
Senior scientist Dr Sophie Gallier completed her PhD at the University of Otago then held post-doctoral and scientist positions in NZ and the Netherlands in dairy science and paediatric nutrition. She has worked as a senior scientist in NZ in maternal and paediatric nutrition, working on brain and cognitive development in early life.
Science leader farm research Dr Sally-Anne Turner has spent 20 years in the bovine industry researching the production of key components in milk and how farm systems can improve production.
Jordyn May, a graduate in food science and marketing, is assistant medical marketing manager appointed to deal with health professionals. He was previously a product development technologist with DGC.
CAPRINZ key facts
Caprine Innovations NZ (CAPRINZ) is a five-year, $29.65 million investment programme between the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) and Dairy Goat Co-operative (NZ) Ltd (DGC).
Forty percent of the funding is from the Government and 60% from DGC.
DGC supports the WHO Marketing Code for Breastmilk Substitutes and affirms breastfeeding as the best source of nutrition for babies and infants.
The programme aims to provide health care professionals world-wide with peer reviewed and published scientific information about goat milk infant formula and to ensure that quality goat milk is produced on sustainable farms.
Growing research and farming capability and increasing export revenue to $400m per annum by 2023.
Growing the size of the industry to about 100,000 milking goats and creating 400 more jobs on farms.