South African Milch Goat Breeders Society
Milk goat breeding was first discovered in South Africa during a Dutch expedition to the Namaqualand area in 1661. There, the new settlers found a tribe called Briqua, known as ‘the goat people’, who farmed with a small herd of milch goats and other meat goat breeds. Since then, milk goat breeding expanded at a rapid pace, as it was found that goats are hardy animals that thrive in almost all environments and climates.
The first milk goat breeds were imported from Switzerland in 1898, and included 12 Saanen does and 3 Saanen bucks. The SA Milch Goat Breeders’ Society was first founded in 1926 with British Goat Society affliction, and reassessed in 1958 to affiliate with the SA Studbook and Animal Improvement Society. It has since then continued to represent the interests of milk goat breeders and farmers countrywide.
The most popular milk goat breeds that are currently farmed in South Africa include the Saanen, Toggenburg, British Alpine and Bunte Deutsche Edelziege.
Services of SA Milch Goat Breeders Society
SA Milch Goat Breeders’ Society provides members with an in-depth outline of Milk Goat Breed Standards, which sets out the proper breeding requirements for every individual milk goat breed. Information is available in English and Afrikaans, as many farmers are not bilingual.
Furthermore, SA Milch Goat Breeders’ Society advocates the health benefits of goat milk as opposed to cow’s milk. It is said to be a superior milk in terms of human digestion, lactose intolerance, as well as its added vitamins and minerals.
One of South Africa’s first milk goat breeds to be imported was the Saanen, a sturdy white goat with no markings. Unfortunately, no official effort was made in SA to keep the breed pure, but there have been a large number of goats registered throughout the years.
From 1958 to 1985, the SA Stud Book and livestock Improvement Association (SASBLIA) registered 2388 Saanen females and 530 Saanen males, whilst 139 females and 42 males were registered from 1985 to 1991. Today, 432 Saanen females and 120 Saanen males are registered in South Africa.
Membership of SA Milch Goat Breeders Society
The SA Milch Goat Breeders’ Society council is made up of a president, who is in charge of the year program, finances, breed standard statistics, regional shows and any office matters. The vice president works will all sponsors, social media management, import and export sales, information days and symposiums.
Another portfolio organises the annual national milk goat breed show, and is in charge of auctions, regional shows and any export issues while the training portfolio arranges training courses, as well as appraisers and judges courses. The last portfolio handles all communication and marketing-related work, as well as promotions and advertising. The committee prides itself on delivering accurate information and guidance to young milk goat farmers, and the upkeep of breeder and marketing relationships.
There are currently 25 members of SA Milch Goat Breeders’ Society, which includes farmers, breeders, sales representatives and dairies. If you are interested to register as a goat breeder, all information on membership applications and fees is available on the society’s website. Administrative documents are available to all stakeholders of the milk goat farming industry as well, and focuses on the society’s constitution, registration fees and participation applications.
SAMGBS Membership Benefits
Members are invited to join the annual national and regional milk goat breed shows, where breeders can show off their goats and win prizes, or auction off their best breeds. They also have access to the export markets and other breeders who might be interested in their stock.
Furthermore, the SAMGBS’ official website offers members a plethora of articles written by industry experts on goat health, preparing for kidding season, common goat diseases, goat milk and FAQs about goat farming. These articles are available in both English and Afrikaans.
SAMGBS members are entitled to both South African and global contacts within the goat farming and breeding industry, which allows them to expand their knowledge, sales network and potential product lines.
An outline of Breed Standards is offered to new farmers and breeders wanting to produce goats of the highest quality. The document makes reference to the five milk goat breeds of South Africa, namely Saanen, Toggenburg, British Alpine, BDE and Anglo-Nubian. There are sections that deal with the bodily appearance of the breed, as well as hair quality, bone structure, head and neck and various colour requirements.