- 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
- Aidan Pomario Tel: 044 850 1000 www.thegardenofaidan.co.za
- Alpine Goats’ Cheese www.goats-cheese.co.za
- AXXON Tel: 011 837 7177/6/0 axxon [at] global.co.za Specialist supplier of goat and sheep milking equipment and feeder yokes
- Beaconsfield Cheesery Tel: 049 842 1511 Sheep’s milk
- Belnori Boutique Cheesery Tel: 082 377 5698 www.belnori.co.za
- Cloud Cottage Cheese Tel: 044 752 3423 www.cloudcottage.co.za
- Dairy Master Tel: 028 722 1371 www.dairymaster.com Supplies the Swiftflo Goat Revolver Rotary Milking parlour
- Fairview Wine and Cheese Tel: 021 863 2450 www.fairview.co.za
- Flavourex Cheese Factory Tel: 011 568 1376 / 083 397 3531 www.flavourex.com
- Foxenburg Estate Tel: 021 873 5617 / 082 600 5689 www.foxenburg.co.za
- Geluksfontein Goat Cheese Farm Tel: 083 704 4229 http://geluksfontein.co.za Guided tours, training and consulting are offered
- Goatpeter’s Tel: 072 136 2087 www.goatpeter.com
- Hoekplaas Cheesery Tel: 071 218 0000 www.hoekplaascheesery.co.za
- Imhoff Farm Tel: 021 783 4545 www.imhofffarm.co.za
- Indezi River Cheese Company Tel/fax: 033 815 9580/1 www.indezi.co.za
- Klippiesveld Kaas Tel: 084 408 9137
- La Cotte Inn Tel: 021 876 3775 www.lacotte.co.za
- Lattaia Goat's Cheese Tel: 083 535 4341
- Limpopo Dairy Tel: 015 519 5400 www.limpopodairy.co.za
- Mooiland Cheesery Tel: 056 777 2253
- Nuwehoogte Goatsmilk & Cheese Tel: 023 626 4165 http://nuwehoogte.weebly.com
- Ovis Angelica Tel: 051 713 7091 www.sasheepdairy.co.za
- Packo RSA Tel: 058 852 4907 http://packorsa.co.za Goat and sheep milking parlours is one of their products.
- Swissland Cheese Tel: 082 418 3440 www.swisslandcheese.net
- Tantinki Cheese and Soap Tel/Fax: 044 279 2384
4. Websites and publications
Also refer to the “Dairy processing” chapter 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, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) at www.daff.gov.za. DAFF 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.
- Easy-to-understand “Infotoons”are available on the subject Preparing Fresh Goat’s Milk. Visit the AGIS website – www.agis.agric.za/efarmer
- The British Sheep Dairying Association - www.sheepdairying.com
- Mills, O. 1989. Practical Sheep Dairying. 2nd edition. New York: HarperCollins.
- Find the general goat publications in the “Meat goats" chapter. General sheep publications can be found in the “Wool (sheep)" chapter.