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J Anim Sci. 1996 May;74(5):1173-81.

Status and prospects of the dairy goat industry in the United States.

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Department of Animal Science and Agricultural Biochemistry, University of Delaware, Newark 19717-1303, USA.


Among the major classes of U.S. livestock, dairy goats have yet to achieve USDA statistical reporting of their numbers, amounts of milk produced and processed, and cheese and other products marketed. However, the USDA has published buck proofs of approximately 16,000 does annually from Dairy Herd Improvement Association (DHIA) records of the Alpine, LaMancha, Nubian, Oberhasli, Saanen and Toggenburg breeds, thereby encouraging genetic progress. This represents a 1% participation in DHIA of the estimated 1.5 million U.S. dairy goats. Annual breed registrations are led by Nubians (11,000), and the leading states in descending order are California, Texas, Ohio, New York, and Pennsylvania. Breed average milk yields range from 960 kg of milk for Saanen to 726 kg of milk for Oberhasli. Average milk contents range from 4.5% fat and 3.69% protein for Nubian to 3.3% fat and 2.98% protein for Toggenburg. Leading lactation records are 3,023 kg of milk (Toggenburg) and 174 kg of fat (Nubian). Total annual registrations are 45,000+ animals by 16,000+ member breeders. Estimated total U.S. goat milk commercial production is 24,000+ t, with half going into commercial farm goat cheese production of 640+ t. Recent years have seen significantly increased numbers of dairy goat research projects and publications from Oklahoma, Texas, California, Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, New York, Connecticut, Delaware, and Massachusetts. Furthermore, annual national and international symposia, annual national goat cheese judging competitions and workshops, an active national goat research foundation, representation on the National Interstate Milk Shippers Committee and Mastitis Council, and formation of a national association and council for the development and promotion of dairy goat products indicate an evolution from former emphasis on purebred breed development to a focus on market development. The conclusion is that dairy goats are emerging as a necessary and recognized U.S. industry.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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