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Dairy Goat Numbers
on the Rise in the U.S.

By Alan Harman

The number of milk goats in the United States rose 5.97% last year to 355,000, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service reports.

Census figures indicate that in the last two years the numbers have risen 9.9% from 323,000 head in 2008.

Wisconsin continues to have the largest numbers of milk goats. The state’s inventory of milk goats—does, bucks, and kids—on January 1 totaled 46,000 head, up 6,000 head from a year ago and up 11,000 from 2008.

The NASS survey found 77% of Wisconsin dairy goat farmers with flocks up to 100 head planned to increase their numbers in the next five years. Some 70% with 101-200 goats were looking to expand, and 63% with more than 200 goats had similar intentions.

Overall, 71% of the state’s dairy goat farmers said they would be increasing their flock size, while 20% said they would continue at the same level or drop in size and 9% said they would be quitting the sector.

California was the second biggest dairy goat state with 36,000 head, up 2.7% from 37,000 head last year and up 5.5% from 36,000 in 2008.

Iowa has 29,500 head, up 20.4% from 24,500 in 2009 and up 31.1% from 22,500 in 2008.

Texas has 20,000 head, unchanged from 2009 and down 4.7% from 21,000 in 2008.

Minnesota’s flock grew 13% to 13,000 head from 11,500 in 2009 and up 18.1% from 11,000 head in 2008.

NASS says the all goat inventory in the U.S. on Jan.1, totaled 3.04 million head, down 1% from 2009.

The breeding goat inventory totaled 2.53 million head, down 1%, while does one year old and older, at 1.87 million head, were 1% below last year’s number.

Market goats and kids were down 2% at 518,000 head, and the kid crop for 2009 totaled 1.94 million head for all goats, down 1%.

Meat and all other goats totaled 2.54 million head, down slightly from 2009.

Mohair production for the year was 1.01 million pounds with the number of goats and kids clipped totaling 160,500 head. The average weight per clip was 6.3 pounds. Mohair price was $2.66 a pound with a value of $2.69 million.

The growth in dairy goat numbers despite a shrinking national goat flock, reflects a report last year by the Agricultural Marketing Resource Center, which said dairy goat milk and goat cheese continue to see slow, steady growth trends as consumers are becoming more aware of the higher protein and lower cholesterol levels found in the products.

The center said dairy goat products will likely continue to occupy an important, expanding niche market. Challenges include the seasonality of milk production—maintaining a uniform, year-round supply of goat milk is difficult due to seasonal reproductive cycles.

Dairy goats are found in every state. Number by state*:

State 2009 2010 Head
%change
AL 4,500 4,200 -6.6
AZ 2,000 2,000 NC
AR 4,900 4,400 -10.2
CA 37,000 38,000 +2.7
CO 8,300 8,400 +1.2
FL 6,000 5,000 -16.6
GA 4,500 3,000 -33.3
ID 2,500 2,800 12.0
IL 5,500 4,700 -14.5
IN 10,500 11,800 +12.3
IA 24,500 29,500 +20.4
KS 4,500 3,800 -15.5
KY 7,000 6,500 -7.1
LA 1,200 1,100 -8.3
MD 2,800 2,400 -14.2
MI 9,100 10,900 +19.7
MN 11,500 13,000 +13.0
MS 2,800 2,900 +3.5
MO 9,000 9,000 NC
MT 1,900 2,700 +42.1
NE 1,900 3,100 +63.1
NV 4,300 4,600 +6.9
N ENG 1 10,500 13,500 +28.5
NJ 1,700 2,000 +17.6
NM 2,000 3,100 +55.0
NY 13,400 13,000 -2.9
NC 9,500 8,000 -15.7
ND3   1,000 NA
OH 9,000 8,000 -11.1
OK 8,000 8,300 +3.7
OR 9,200 9,100 -1.0
PA 14,500 17,000 +17.2
SC 3,000 2,900 -3.3
SD 1,500 2,000 +33.3
TN 5,800 6,400 +10.3
TX 20,000 20,000 NC
UT 2,600 2,700 +3.8
VA 4,500 5,800 +28.8
WA 7,100 7,300 +2.8
WV 2,200 2,000 -9.0
WI 40,000 46,000 +15.0
WY 1,800 1,700 -5.5
Oth Sts2 3 500 2,400 +380.0
USA 335,000 355,000 +5.97

1 N ENG includes CT, ME, MA, NH, RI, and VT.
2 Individual state estimates not available for states not shown, but are included in Other States.
3 ND is included in Other States for 2010.
* Source: NASS.





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