Assuming a goat’s nutritional requirements fit somewhere between that of sheep and cattle is a mistake.
Their 700 goats milked twice daily are Saanen, a highly productive Swiss domestic breed.
Rene, from Switzerland and Verena, Germany, in equity partnership with Schuler Brothers Ltd, two years ago bought the property (42ha including leased land), previously part of a cow dairy farm. They named it Swiss Belle after the 700 Swiss beauties they have milked since June 2015.
The farm supplies milk to Dairy Goat Co-op, Hamilton. It employs two full-time staff, Rene and Mitchell Van Dam.
Burri, who grew up on a dairy, beef and pig farm in Switzerland, spent four years in New Zealand on dairy farms; managing a farm for a year then sharemilking for three years at Te Poi.
When the Burris looked at options for farm ownership dairy goats caught their attention.
“We are always open to challenges and goats always keep you challenged,” he told Dairy News. “You need to keep a close eye on the goats; they are highly sensitive.”
Before moving onto Swiss Belle Farm, the Burris’ helped a neighbouring farmer set up a large goat farm.
The goats are kept indoors and fed freshly cut grass, silage and dried distillers grain (DDG) from Oilseed Products NZ.
Milking takes about 1.5 hours. For their milking platform, they opted for a 44-aside Supa4 herringbone from Waikato Milking Systems. A rotary platform was ruled out as too costly. “We wanted to have something simple,” says Burri.
WMS goat milking system specialist Gary Feeney says the Supa4 standard installation process ensures the plant’s integrity.
Its features include a 100mm milk pipe draining into a receiver at one end of the pit; the milk pumping system ensures fast and uninterrupted milking and the simple design makes for fast milking.
The milking plant was installed by Paeroa Farm Services, who also do the annual services.