Farming column with Sam Walton

What a modern goat farm looks like, superb buildings creating the best environment for the animals.
What a modern goat farm looks like, superb buildings creating the best environment for the animals.

If you were to ask a member of the public what animals they would expect to find on a farm, they would probably say cattle, sheep and pigs.

They would probably not think about goats yet not too far from Pocklington, at Seaton Ross, we have one of the largest goat herds in the country and there is another one close to Sunk Island.

A protective cover on rain water storage at a goat farm.

A protective cover on rain water storage at a goat farm.

Both milk around 3,500 goats and produce around 60% of the goat milk marketed in the UK.

It is a niche market but a fascinating one too.

They are milked on a carousel, live happily in straw yards and now there is a growing demand for goat meat, which means that the male or billy goats which are not needed for breeding are no longer euthanised shortly after birth.

The company are using modern techniques not only to feed and house them but are working on the genetics to see which ones are the most prolific and have now established an overseas export market for breeding stock.

Having so many and having so much information also means that artificial insemination is being made more use of to mate the right Billy with the right Nanny.

A lot of maize is grown as part of their ration and they use a lot of straw which in turn provides manure for the arable land.

Rain water is collected into a huge lagoon and is used for cleaning down the buildings which are kept immaculate.

A veterinary surgeon visits once a week and will dehorn any kids born that week.

Being a species which are used to being outside on hard ground means that they must have their toe nails clipped also which I guess is almost a full time job.

They are very healthy animals and will be productive for probably ten years.

Originally you may have tasted a sort of tang in the milk but these days I very much doubt if you would know you were not drinking cows milk.

Fascinating animals and a hugely successful entrepreneurial business – and it is in Yorkshire!