|Officer-in-charge of the St. Andrew-based station, John Vaughan (FP)|
The Ministry of Agriculture’s Greenland Livestock Station is carrying out critical research which, in the long-term, could boost local goat milk production.
Officer-in-charge of the St. Andrew-based station, John Vaughan, said demand for the product has been quite high, so much so that the station was unable to meet the demand of its clients.
However, the agricultural official disclosed that Greenland staff was undertaking a research project which could see goat milk available throughout the year.
"We are taking production records on the goats, to see which ones produce the most milk. We were also looking at adaptability to the environment, knowing that these breeds have come from a temperate environment and we are tropical, and we are also trying to see if we can change their breeding habits. With the Black Belly Sheep, they can breed all year round but goats are seasonal, they only breed in the autumn, in September or October," he explained.
Mr. Vaughan pointed out that since milk was available mostly during autumn, livestock officials were working to breed goats out of season, so milk would be available during other periods.
According to the agricultural official, preliminary findings suggested that the goats were not adapting as quickly as desired, therefore, Greenland staff would, in addition, seek to cross-breed the animals to determine if this would have a significant impact on milking ability, adaptability and longevity.
"We were trying to keep these animals as pure as possible, but now we have run into a situation where we find that these goats are not adjusting well to these tropical conditions since they are temperate animals. So, we will see if we can cross breed them to see if we are able to have what you call a ???hardier’ animal, that can withstand the harsh conditions, and which would milk better because you would have longevity," Mr. Vaughan pointed out.
"We would wish to have adaptable goats which we can send out to the farmers… If by cross-breeding them we can produce that type of animal, then we would be able to develop a goat milking industry faster because we would be able to sell goats to small farmers and in turn, they would be able to breed them, set up a parlour and sell milk. They are only a few people doing this and goat milk is in great demand," Mr. Vaughan added.
Presently, three dairy breeds are housed at the Greenland Station: Seanan (white, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, NULL, NULL, 0); Alpine (black, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, NULL, NULL, 0); and Togenburg (brown).