- Sheep and goat milk are a healthy dairy alternative, even if your physical condition is not compromised. They are rich in fats and minerals, and the (very favourable) facts regarding the nutrition value of this milk can be found on websites mentioned in this chapter.
- The milk can be processed to make cheese, butter, ice cream and other dairy products.
- This is a niche market.
Local business environment
Expert advice about the regulations governing safe milk production can be obtained from the Dairy Standard Agency (details under “Role players” heading).
The advantages of goat milk are laid in several role player websites (see “Role players” heading). Elmarie van Aswegen from Ovis Angelica sets out the case for dairy sheep:
- Sheep are a triple purpose species, yielding wool, mutton and milk.
- You can keep up to four times as many sheep per hectare as cattle, and they reproduce faster than other species
- Cattle take a long time to produce saleable offspring. Most goat breeds are seasonal breeders and will kid only once a year. But sheep can reproduce up to three times in two years. Milk sheep are prolific breeders.
- The SA Milk Sheep has a lactation period of six months (other sheep – three months)
- The SA Milk Sheep gives up to four litres a day
- The wool is strong – 30 micron
- The ewes are productive: twins and triplets are the norm. Maternal instincts are excellent.
- The carcass quality of slaughter lambs is very good and has a good spreading of fat. The sheep are relatively big, ewes weighing 70 – 75 kg.
Find the complete member list at www.milkgoats.co.za. Some of these are listed below. Please note that the “Dairy processing” page in the Adding value section includes some role players relevant to the goat and sheep milk industry.
Associations and standards
- Dairy Standard Agency www.dairystandard.co.za
- SA Milch Goat Breeders’ Society www.milkgoats.co.za Find the notes on goat’s milk on the website
- SA Milk Sheep Breeder’s Club Tel: 051 713 7091 / 082 412 3787
- SA Stud Book and Animal Improvement Association www.studbook.co.za The SA Milk Sheep (a cross between East Friesan and three indigenous breeds) is registered with SA Studbook.
Training and research
- Grootfontein Agricultural Development Institute (GADI) http://gadi.agric.za
- Laerskool Buffelsjagsrivier www.lsbuffeljagsrivier.com
- University of the Free State (UFS) Centre for Sustainable Agriculture, Rural Development and Extension www.ufs.ac.za/censard
- UFS Department Animal, Wildlife and Grassland Sciences www.ufs.ac.za/animal
- University of Pretoria Department of Animal and Wildlife Sciences www.up.ac.za Prof Edward Donkin is a goat expert. Although retired, he still supervises students
- AXXON www.axxon.co.za Specialist supplier of goat and sheep milking equipment and feeder yokes
- Dairy Master www.dairymaster.com Supplies the Swiftflo Goat Revolver Rotary Milking parlour
- Packo RSA http://packorsa.co.za Goat and sheep milking parlours is one of their products.
- Vital Bugs www.vitalbugs.co.za Biological fly control
- Aidan Pomario www.thegardenofaidan.co.za
- Baris Cheese www.baris.co.za
- Belnori Boutique Cheesery www.facebook.com/belnoricheese/
- Bettie Bok www.facebook.com/bettiebokkaas/
- Cloud Cottage Cheese www.cloudcottage.co.za
- Dutch Goat Farm www.dutchgoatfarm.co.za
- Fairview Wine and Cheese www.fairview.co.za
- Flavourex Cheese Factory www.flavourex.com
- Foxenburg Estate www.foxenburg.co.za
- Geluksfontein Goat Cheese Farm http://geluksfontein.co.za Guided tours, training and consulting are offered
- Goatpeter’s www.goatpeter.com
- Hoekkraaltjie www.hoekkraaltjie.co.za
- Hoekplaas Cheesery www.hoekplaascheesery.co.za
- Imhoff Farm www.imhofffarm.co.za
- Indezi River Cheese Company www.indezi.co.za
- Klippiesveld Kaas www.facebook.com/Klippiesveld-Kaas-479394452220361/
- La Cotte Inn www.lacotte.co.za
- Limpopo Dairy www.limpopodairy.co.za
- Nuwehoogte Goatsmilk & Cheese http://nuwehoogte.weebly.com
- Swissland Cheese www.swisslandcheese.net
- Tantinki Cheese and Soap Tel: 044 279 2384
Websites and publications
Also refer to the “Dairy processing” page in the Adding Value section.
- The websites of role players are an excellent place to start.
- Find A Profile of Goat Milk, compiled by the Directorate Agro-processing Support at the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD) at www.dalrrd.gov.za. DALRRD also has an Info Paks (under “Resource centre”) entitled “Starting a dairy goat enterprise”.
- Find the archived articles on sheep and dairy goats at www.farmersweekly.co.za. These include Keeping goats for milk: a beginner’s guide, Awassi rams for Free State milk sheep flock, and Sheep milk cheese – a quality niche product.
- Watch the Leon Kruger (ARC) talk Health management of milk goats on YouTube: www.youtube.com/watch?v=n2Lzm_KUJFA
- Raising Dairy Goats by Jerry Belanger is available from Kejafa Knowledge Works at www.kejafa.com.
- Kaberia, B.K., Mutia, P. & Ahuya, C. n.d. Farmers Dairy Goat Production Handbook. Nairobi: FARM-Africa. Available at www.farmafrica.org/downloads/resources/FARM-Africa%20Dairy%20Goat%20Production%20Handbook.pdf
- The British Sheep Dairying Association – www.sheepdairying.com
- Mills, O. 1989. Practical Sheep Dairying. 2nd edition. New York: HarperCollins.
- Coleman A. 2020, January 2020. “Award-winning goat’s cheese from Clarens”. Farmer’s Weekly. Available at www.farmersweekly.co.za/animals/sheep-goats/award-winning-goats-cheese-from-clarens/
- Van der Walt, J. 2019, July 8. “Getting started with dairy goats: practical tips from a farmer”. Farmer’s Weekly. Available at www.farmersweekly.co.za/animals/sheep-goats/getting-started-with-dairy-goats-practical-tips-from-a-farmer/
- Van der Walt, J. 2019, February 22. “Dairy goats: Secure your market before you start”. Farmer’s Weekly, pp. 36 – 38.
Share this article