Goat farming can be a challenging business, but it can also be highly rewarding. The market for goat milk in the US has grown exponentially, meaning that the profit that a goat farm can yield can be considerable if the farm is managed well.
A dairy goat farmer can make around $22 profit per goat per day. If we take a lactating average of 284 days, a goat farmer can earn $6248 a year. This is calculated with a $12/gallon goat milk value, an average of 2 gallons/day per goat, and a maintenance cost of $2/day. If the farmer is selling by-products such as goat cheese, yogurt, etc., this amount can further increase.
On average in the US, goats' food amounts to 0.65$/day, and they supply milk that can be valued at $12 or more per gallon. The average goat will produce 2 gallons per day. Of course, there are other costs associated with raising goats, like medication, veterinarian bills, watering, and workforce. So, we will assume that the maintenance cost of a single dairy farm goat is $2/day.
However, it is difficult to put an exact number on how much money a goat farmer can make, as it depends a lot on many factors, some of which we will discuss in this article.
Why Invest in Goats?
Goat domestication happened around 10,000 years ago. People began keeping goats to feed their families with milk, dairy products, and meat mainly because it was easy to raise. History tells us that the Roman Empire facilitated goats' development and spread the tradition of farming goats.
Goats have been there, alongside humans, through many important historical events, including famines, saving their owners from starvation. Goats could do this because they are versatile animals, which can graze on hostile terrain, where other farm animals have a slim chance of reaching, like rough mountains.
The goat is an enduring animal that can withstand challenging environments and rarely gets sick if cared for correctly.
Goats' personality is also a factor, as they can be docile and easy to farm, and it is always easier to work with a tolerant animal. The fact that they enjoy the company of humans means that they are not stressed around them.
This is relevant because, according to research, the quality of the milk a stressed animal produces is inferior, and it also reduces the milk quantity by 11%.
The goat population worldwide has grown to more than a billion heads, with Asia and Europe leading the market. Still, countries such as the US and New Zealand are catching up fast due to the increased demand and economic benefits.
Dairy goats were a novelty for the US, but things have changed during the last decade. However, worldwide, the most consumed type of dairy is goat milk.
The fact that people of different nationalities, who are used to consuming goat milk, moved to the US, along with their culinary traditions, led to a much higher demand for goat milk and other goat products.
How Much Does A Goat Farmer Make A Year?
Dairy goat farmers in the US may find that their earnings per year on the milk that their goats produce may differ depending on the breed, housing, and feeding of the goats. The profit varies tremendously, so there is no number that you can set your heart on.
Goat milk is rich in protein and calcium and is richer and more nutritious than cow milk. This is the reason it is recently highly sought after in the US. But what exactly is in it for goat farmers? What do goat farmers that rear goats for their milk earn yearly?
Major Expenses for Goat Farmers
Now that we have established that there is a high demand for goat milk in the US, the major expenses for farmers are in starting up. Farmers have to make the major initial investment in building goats' shelters and housing and buying the goats and their feeds. And then, when production begins, they only have to focus on food and other purchases to maintain their goats and keeping them healthy for better milk production.
The amount of money that a goat farmer can make depends on:
The Size of the Farm
Since goats don’t produce too much milk and average around two gallons a day, it takes more goats to obtain a profit.
A report by the University of California states that starting a goat farm of about 500 goats on 55 acres of land will cost over $240,000. This could differ depending on the locality and the regulations concerning the farm operations and goat milk processing in a particular state or area.
The average cost of goat milk in the US is between $8 and $12 for a gallon. One goat can produce about 2-3 gallons of milk per day, depending on the breed. Saanen goat and some other goat breeds can produce this amount of milk daily. So, if we take an example of a goat producing 3 gallons a day, this will mean that it can generate $36 per day at maximum capacity.
All things being equal, on average, a goat farmer could be earning $13,140 per year just from one goat.
Dairy goats are milked at least twice a day, and so at optimum levels, these goats will produce high quantities of milk daily.
Watch this video, a great story about a small goat farm, and detail about its goat dairy operations.
Selecting Right Goat Breed for Better Milk Production
Rearing goats that produce milk at these rates depend on a lot of factors. Selecting the right breeds is the first thing a farmer does to ensure high production and income. Goat breeds that are high-milk producing, such as Saanen, Alpine, Beetal, and Toggenburg, will ensure more milk, and in return, more income for the farmer than the low-milk producing goats.
Type and Quality of Goat Feed
Rearing high-milk producing goats does not, in itself, guarantee high incomes. Feeding also plays a role in the rates at which they produce milk.
Goats must be fed with high-protein grain and fresh, lush grasses, herbs, and shrubs. To get the best nutritious milk from these goats, they also require the right amounts of vitamins and water.
Goats enjoy roaming free and grazing bushes. Doing so also increases the milk quality, so to maximize profit, it is always good to invest in pastures filled with bushes.
Goat's Health and Care
In a study, the total cost of caring for a milking doe per year was found to be about $1,024, factoring in expenses like labor, feeding, breeding, bedding, and veterinary costs. This would bring down the annual profit that we have calculated earlier in this article from each milking dairy goat to $12,116.
Of course, expenses may vary based on circumstances like goats becoming pregnant, availability and cost of local resources, and other specific maintenance costs.
Another important factor in ensuring high milk production in goats is breeding. The right breeding styles help with the multiplicity of the goats, which means more milk production for the farmer.
The Type of Goat Farm
Furthermore, goats can be exposed to parasites, and sometimes these parasites can make them sick or even kill them. The veterinary will be able to treat the goats, but depending on the infestation level, this can cost a lot of money, as the milk won’t be viable for a while when the animal is being treated.
Having pastures that the goats can graze reduces this risk as the goats won’t reinfect themselves easily, unlike on a traditional farm. Traditional stall farms are difficult to maintain and kept clean and can indirectly increase costs by affecting animal health and the quality of their produce.
Marketing your Goat's Product wisely
The Marketing and Management of any company and product are the ones that drive profit. No matter how good a farmer you are and how high the quality of your products is, these are the aspects that make and break a business.
Even if goat farming can produce, on average, $22 a day, it is important to consider all the other factors that influence this amount.
One of the advantages of goat milk is that it is very versatile, and it can be used in many ways.
Since the demand for goat milk has been constantly on the rise, the diversity of the products offered has become the norm. Free-range and Organic products can always be priced better, and in the case of goats, it can be easier to achieve
There are many options for goat farmers. During the last couple of years, people learned that goat milk could be an alternative to cow’s milk, and those who suffer from cow’s milk allergies are especially inclined to buy alternative products.
Goat milk has gained popularity due to the fact that it is easier to digest and richer in proteins, compared to cow’s milk.
Studies show that goat milk can lead to an increased biliary output, which lowers total cholesterol levels and is associated with lower plasmatic levels of triglycerides.
These factors have led the public to the general idea that goat’s milk is healthier, which is why it is more expensive and why it can lead to an impressive profit if monetized correctly.
Goat milk has been used in many products such as:
Gaining access to these markets is a challenge, but with a high-quality product and rock-solid marketing techniques, it can be done, and this is a guaranteed profit booster.
Furthermore, managing a dairy goat farm effectively can mean using all the products derived from the process, not just the milk.
This can be done by establishing contacts with companies from different domains and monetizing everything, including manure and male kids.
The global milk market has gained 4% each year, and it is forecasted to gain even more as new research into the proprieties of goat milk emerges. Marketing research companies the IMARC group expect the market to continue to grow at least for the next five years.
So, it is safe to assume that a goat farmer can obtain a substantial profit, but the value of that profit can only be driven by the management's decision they are going to take.
This is not an Investment Advice
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