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The Country Enterprise Handbook
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>....... Milk
...In the dairy
...Dealing with milk

When you want to sell goat's milk, your choice is not the same as with the cow.

There is no Milk Marketing Board to buy goat's milk in bulk although in a very few areas there are co-operatives. Usually you have to sell the milk yourself. In some areas the recent interest in goat's milk has meant that producers have swamped the market. To be economical it is generally reckoned that you must receive one and a half times the going rate for a pint of cow's milk. In our area at present you are fortunate to achieve the same as cow's milk. The answer here if you want a viable proposition is to process the milk into cheese or yoghurt.

The final major point to consider when comparing goats and cows is that you do not need a licence to sell goat's milk whereas you do need one to sell cow's milk. This is not simply a question of being involved in health checks and hygiene standards, anyone in milk production should be able to stand up to those.

The point is that it is difficult to obtain a licence to sell cow's milk unless you have an established dairy. If you have to start from scratch, the type of building required can cost a great deal to build. You can safely handle the smaller quantities of goat's milk, on the other hand, in a kitchen or utility room. Goat's milk is essential to some allergy-sufferers. Our son had colic as a tiny baby; eventually he was put on to goat's milk and the improvement was tremendous. Similar cases of allergy are always cropping up and much of our production goes to allergy-sufferers. The only point to remember if you intend to base an enterprise on such a market is that the sufferers quite often recover. A customer who was buying a pint a day suddenly disappears, possibly not to be replaced.

One way to simplify the sale of goat's milk is to freeze it. Goat's milk freezes well. (Cow's milk can be frozen but it will separate on thawing.) Another way to use goat's milk is to make cheese. This is not always easy - goat's milk soft cheeses tend to weep after some hours. The sight of a pool of liquid around the nicest little cream cheese is enough to put off most buyers. You can put the cheese into little plastic pots that will contain the liquid but the only real answer is to take extreme care in the manufacture of the cheese.