Sweden is an oasis for goats.
Diseases like TSE, or paratuberculosis – which is quite prevalent in most of the EU – don’t exists in Sweden. Import goats (and sheep) into Sweden requires a long list of health certificates most goat breeders & dairies simply don’t have. To get the required TSE health status, for example, a goat breeder would need to have their herd monitored for 7 years, which includes the examination of the brain of deceased or sacrificed goats older than 16 months. For nearly 2 years we searched in all of Europe to find a herd that fits all requirements, and discussed our plans with Jordbruksverket and the SDS. During that time, the stack of paperwork has grown quite tall…
So why do all that?
Because of the cheese. When we started our journey into cheesemaking, Toggenburger goats’ milk was our medium. For two years, we picked up warm raw milk from a nearby organic goat farm, and made our first cheeses. All was well until we discovered Anglo Nubian goats and their cross-breeds. The milk had more fat, more proteins, tasted wonderful, and had a fantastic cheese yield and beautiful curd firmness. But that’s not enough reason to throw a lot of money and effort into bringing a bunch of floppy-eared goats to Sweden. Or is it?
The Alpha S1 Genetic Quirk
The Swedish and Norwegian Landrace Goats have one of the lowest (if not THE lowest) cheese yields of all dairy goat breeds in the world, because they produce the lowest amount of alpha s1 casein. Some goats don’t produce any alpha s1 casein at all, resulting in very weak curds when their milk is renneted. And that was the thing that decided it for us.
Anglo Nubians Have the Highest Cheese Yield
Among all dairy goat breeds, the Anglo Nubian Goat (and the Nigerian Dwarf Goat) has the highest cheese yield – up to 50% higher than the Saanen Goat. And that is largely due to the high amount of alpha s1 casein they are producing, additional to the high amount of milk fat and milk protein. In fact, Anglo Nubians are considered the best choice for making a dairy goat farm profitable.
To our knowledge, no research has been done to directly compare cheese yields of Swedish Landrace goats with those of Saanen and/or Nubian goats, but if the difference between Saanens and Nubians is already so great, the difference between Swedish Landrace goats and Nubian goats must be even higher (we’re assuming up to twice as much cheese in Nubians).
So we ran that through our business calculations. The numbers were clear. The (sometimes scary) investment needed to import a flock of pure-bred Anglo Nubian goats into Sweden would be returned at the end of the first milking season already.
The New Herd
In summer 2020, we’ll get juvenile Anglo Nubians from a German breeder. His goats produce an average of 950kg of milk per year (240 milking days), and are free of pseudo-tuberculosis, CAE, Brucellosis, Q-Fever, Blue Tongue, Schmalenberg Virus, and have a negligible TSE risk status. We’ll keep all available females for our own breeding efforts, plus four males – one from each breeding line.
If you are interested in a male Anglo Nubian goat, please email us. We’re planning to bring young males for other goat diaries and a Swedish zoo, and could reserve all the males this breeder has available. Please be aware that to comply with Swedish regulations, all goats have to be brought to our farm first to undergo examinations and quarantine, and only then can you pick up your goat from us (detailed information will be emailed to all interested parties).
Here you can download research papers on cheese yields and alpha s1 casein:
- Comparing cheese yield and alpha s1 casein content in Saanen & Anglo Nubian goats’ milk
- Cheese yield and alpha s1 casein in Swedish Landrace goats
- The role of alpha s1 casein in cheese curd formation
- Cheese yield & composition in Swedish Landrace goats
- Lack of alpha s1 casein in Norwegian Landrace goats (abstract only)