Over the past 10 years, dairy goat herds have grown faster than any other key livestock group in the country.
The demand for goat’s milk has risen since the late ‘80s when goat cheese first gained culinary status. Lactose-intolerant folks also appreciate the lower concentration of lactose in goat’s milk. In addition, goats are easier to handle than cows and have less impact on the environment.
But there are industrial downsides. Cows produce milk all year, while goats are seasonal milkers. As a result, there’s a lot of goat’s milk in the summer and very little in the winter. You also need 10 goats to produce as much milk as one cow, which means more goat kids to bottle feed. That’s a big reason why goat’s milk is about four times the cost of the bovine type.
Nevertheless, there seems little doubt that goat herds are here to stay.