Tuesday 10 December 2013

Backyard dairy farming

I know its dangerous but when I'm driving I've a tendency to think about things other than traffic, I often find myself on autopilot. Today on the A82 after collecting some very good hay from Ian Wilson up in Glen Urquhart I was thinking about the economics of our home milk production. Since March Pia has given us over 700kgs of milk, most was for drinking but we've also made cheese, butter, kefir and yoghurt.

In Morrison's supermarket in Ft. William this morning goats milk was £1.55p a litre so if we had wanted to consume the equivalent amount in supermarket milk it would have cost £1,085 in total. there have been production costs of course at about 0.75 kg concentrates per litre costing around 45p, then 2kg hay a day at about 25p/kg; total food cost is £1.70p.

Average daily output 2.5kg milk @ £1.55/litre is worth £3.88p

Average daily food costs @ £1.70p /day

Average  daily surplus over feed cost £2.18p

Total surplus for 300 days £654

"But what about the other production costs and overheads" I hear you cry.........

Well..... I'm retired so the opportunity cost of my labour is zero, vet fees and medicines might have been another £40 at most, bedding £40 and miscellaneous costs £10. That still eaves a surplus of £600.

You are now very welcome to pick holes in these figures but I think that I can now make a good case for backyard goat farming to keep two or three families in high quality milk and dairy products more cheaply than buying the equivalent from a supermarket.

Of course you'd need two goats ( you can't keep one on its own) a garden, a loose box with a yard and friendly cooperative neighbours who want to be part of your neighborhood backyard milk production coop because you do need some time off from feeding, milking, mucking out etc.

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