The Australian dairy goat industry is geographically diverse and is well placed to service the increasing interest and demand for exotic cheeses and alternatives to cows’ milk. In addition, the Australian dairy goat industry services a high quality export market for stud dairy goats.
Typically dairy goat lactation lasts for 300 days with an average of 2-3 litres of milk per doe per day. At peak lactation this can increase to 3.5-4 litres per day.
There are six recognised dairy goat breeds in Australia: Anglo Nubian, Sanann, British Alpine, Toggenburg, Australian Brown and Australian Melaan.
The Anglo Nubian is an all-purpose goat, useful for meat, milk and hide production. While they do not have the length of lactation or the quality of milk produced by Swiss breeds, the milk has a much higher butterfat content and the goat will breed out of season making them particularly desirable for many tropical countries wishing to upgrade local goat stock. The Anglo Nubian were introduced to Australia in 1954.
Saanen does are typically long lactating and high producing dairy goats with placid temperaments. These traits contribute to the popularity and success of the breed in Australian commercial dairies, with the Saasen the most common goat breed in Australia.
The British Alpine is a tall, rangy, highly active breed suited to open grazing and renowned as a good milk producer with better than average butterfat and solids-not-fat. The breed displays good winter milking with an extended lactation period.
The Toggenburg goat originated in Obertoggenburg, Switzerland, where the purity of the breed was strictly regulated. It is credited with being the oldest known dairy breed of goat and was imported into Australia around 1950. The breed has become popular in Australia with both small farm operations and commercial dairies because of its excellent milk production.
The Australian Brown
Australian Brown breed was developed in Australia over the 1990s and officially recognised as a breed in 2006. These goats are of a consistent type, tall and rangy with good dairy conformation and are known for long lactation and ease of milking.
The Australian Melaan
The Australian Melaan is a black goat breed developed in Australia and particularly well suited to the diverse and highly variable local production conditions. The breed, recognised in 2000, is considered hardy, disease resistant and highly productive with an intelligent and placid nature.