1. Overview

  • 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.

 

2. Local business environment

Expert advice about the regulations governing safe milk production can be obtained from the Dairy Standard Agency (details under heading 3).

The advantages of goat milk are laid in several role player websites (see heading 3). 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.

 

3. Role players

Find the complete member list at www.milkgoats.co.za. Some of these are listed below. Please note that the "Dairy processing" chapter in the Adding value section includes role players from the goat and sheep milk industry.

Associations and standards

  • Dairy Standard Agency Tel: 012 665 4250 www.dairystandard.co.za
  • SA Milch Goat Breeders’ Society Tel: 051 410 0954 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 Tel: 051 410 0900 www.sastudbook.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) Tel: 049 842 1113 http://gadi.agric.za
  • Grootplaas de Rust Cheese Academy Tel: 082 828 1832 http://cheeseacademy.co.za
  • Laerskool Buffelsjagsrivier Tel: 028 512 3855 / 63 http://bjrs.co.za
  • University of the Free State (UFS) Centre for Sustainable Agriculture, Rural Development and Extension Tel: 051 401 3765 www.ufs.ac.za/censard
  • UFS Department Animal, Wildlife and Grassland Sciences Tel: 051 401 2211 www.ufs.ac.za/animal
  • University of Pretoria Department of Animal and Wildlife Sciences Tel: 012 420 3272 www.up.ac.za Prof Edward Donkin is a goat expert. Although retired, he still supervises students

Producers and other role players

 

4. Websites and publications

Also refer to the “Dairy processing” chapter in the Adding Value section.