New dairy goat research gets underway at Ruakura

The industry aim of increasing the supply of dairy goat milk produced in New Zealand has taken another step forward with the opening of AgResearch’s new dedicated dairy goat research facility at Ruakura.

“The dairy goat industry is a great example of where science has made a difference right across the value chain, from on-farm to off-farm and work which has supported Dairy Goat Cooperative (DGC) in establishing and growing their business,” says AgResearch Partnership & Portfolios Director Dr Greg Murison.

“DGC has an excellent track record of developing and marketing high-quality exports based on a strong R&D component,” he said.

AgResearch currently has three programmes of dairy goat research underway, two funded by the Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment and the third by the Ministry for Primary Industries through the Sustainable Farming Fund, with significant cash and in kind co-funding from DGC.

The latest project is focused on growing the supply of dairy goat milk through improved forage supply systems and superior animal welfare practices.

The first trial in the new facility looks at bedding preferences, with the aim of determining what the goats’ favoured surfaces are.

DGC Chairman Campbell Storey says the AgResearch work is crucial to the industry’s growth.

“There has been an industry shift where now goats are mainly farmed indoors. There is a greater focus on animal welfare, milk quality and in producing milk fit for purpose with the correct profile to produce what we believe is the best dairy goat infant formula in the world.

“To be making such a claim we need to continually invest in research and development, and working with a world-renowned agricultural research organisation, with a dedicated dairy goat research facility, who will be committed to research goat farming-related issued is an exciting opportunity.”

The facilities can cater for 48 goats and will be used for a range of trials, including bedding preferences for kids, forage preferences and environment enrichment work.