Welsh farmers boost profits with goat milking venture

Gary and Jess Yeoman, who farm in Monmouthshire, say forage quality, storage and management, as well as high quality balewrap, are important for their success in producing a premium, award-winning product.

farmer with goats

Attention to detail when producing and utilising high quality large square bale silage is an essential component in the successful management of Gary and Jess Yeoman’s milking goat herd.

The couple farm 300 acres close to Abergavenny in Monmouthshire. In 2002, they made the decision to convert the farm from a dry stock to producing milk from goats.

The goat’s milk is converted into cheese locally, which gives the farm a premium price compared to milk from dairy cows. Their farm is only five miles from Abergavenny Creamery, the largest and most successful producer of fresh goat’s cheese in the UK.

When it comes to fodder Gary says: “You need to be very careful with forage quality, storage and management; goats are fussy eaters and are more susceptible to health problems.”

Silage is a big investment so the focus is on making the best possible quality. Gary added: “We like to give a balanced diet and make some haylage to mix in for a healthy diet. All our forage is baled in large square bales as we find this gives us more flexibility.”

They produce 800 large square bales taken from three cuts per year, with a mix of perennial rye grass, white clover, lucerne and forage maize.

In 2021, Gary and Jess Yeoman’s farm won the Big Bale Competition, which is a testament to their silage quality. Their excellent big bale analysis showed a DM of 36.0%, crude protein 17.6%, D-value 70.5, ME of 11.3, and pH of 4.6.

bale wrap

Dave Davies, from the Silage Solutions consultancy and technical judge said: “These were stand out winners both in terms of silage quality but also the value they were getting from their preserved forages.”

High quality silage requires high quality balewrap and Gary says they have always used Silotite, a quality film they purchase from the local Wynnstay store. They used the Silotite Original boxed product, before recently switching to SilotitePro1800, based on a recommendation by the store manager. “We decided to give it a go and were very impressed.”

“SilotitePro1800 is 300 metres longer, which gives us an extra 3–4 bales from each reel,” he explains. “This is a big benefit for us, as it decreases our downtime and overall reel usage. Having less handling, transportation, and storage is great.”

SilotitePro1800 is supplied in PE sleeve packaging, which is 10 times lighter than an equivalent cardboard carton. Both the balewrap and packaging can be recycled together where PE film collections exist. “Eliminating the need for bulky boxes and simplifying recycling is an added convenience for sure. We have also reduced our packaging waste considerably,” Gary concludes.

Visit the Silotite website for more information

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