NZ Dairy Winter 2022

76 | nzdairy DAIRY PEOPLE » Oete Goat Farm Goats galore - and Virginia Wright WE’RE PROUD TO SUPPORT MATTBOLTON PUKEKOHE Cnr Kitchener & Manukau Rd, Pukekohe Mark Ellett 027 237 8723 Phillip Gill 0274 987 558 &OETE GOAT FARM PUKEKOHE Cnr Kitch ner & Manukau Rd, Pu ekohe Mark Ellett 027 237 8723 Phillip Gill 0274 987 558 Oete Goat Farm’s Matt Bolton farms around 5000 goats on two farms at Patumahoe. The goats are milked through two sheds – a 56-bail rotary at Oete Farm and an 80-bail rotary at neighbouring Oakdale Farm. “So many of them (school children) come back to see their pet goat. I wouldn’t have a clue which is which, but I’ll say ‘look they’ll be in this lane or this lane’ and their goats go straight up to the children even a couple of years later, it’s amazing.” Matt Bolton is a dedicated farmer and these days he’s dedicated to farming goats – around 5000 of them across two farms totalling 273 hectares in the central North Island. Having been both a share-milker on a traditional dairy farm, and farmed sheep and beef, his belief in goat farming’s potential, and in goat milk itself, is based on a good deal of personal experience, research, and his knowledge of their history. “10,000 years ago nobody milked a cow, you milked a goat. They’ve found through geno-testing in Iraq that they were one of the rst animals to be domesticated,” says Matt, “preceded by dogs 15,000 years ago. These were the goats which used to live in mud huts with people.” Matt thinks it’s this domestic heritage of his goats, bred for milking, that explains their mellow temperament. Many of Matt’s staff have previously worked with cows and one of the things they now enjoy is being able to work with animals that aren’t intimidating. The general rule of thumb is “treat the goats the way you’d like to be treated if you were a goat,” says Matt. He’s deeply appreciative of his 22 staff and the contractors who regularly help out once kidding starts. “We’ve got a fantastic crew here, I couldn’t do without them, they’re a very dedicated, caring bunch.” He’s equally appreciative of NIG Nutritionals. “I was their rst supplier at Paerata with Hamish Noakes, and I think they’ve done a really good job to get where they are with multiple goat farms and making the most of goat milk’s nutritional bene ts.” Bene ts which include being all A2, and having a medium sized fat molecule which is naturally homogenized, leaving no fat to rise to the top as it does in a bottle of cow’s milk, and helping make it easy to digest. “It means it’s good for irritable bowel syndrome, eczema, all sorts of things because it’s anti-in ammatory,” says Matt. Oete Goat Farm goats are well catered for. Although the two farms can be treated as separate entities they work together: they call Oete Farm, with a 56 bail rotary, the kitchen farm because it’s where they mix all the feed used to top up the goats’ nutritional needs over and above their daily cut-and-carry feed. Oakdale, with its additional 80 bail rotary, is just over the road; an easy trip for the pre-mixed, homegrown supplementary feed mixed in the very large agricultural equivalent of a kitchen mixer: a Keenan mixer wagon capable of carrying up to 20 cubic metres of feed. The goal is to loosely stick to around 85% of feed grown on-farm. The main cut-and-carry blend of high protein grasses, high sugar grasses, different large leafed white clovers and a small amount of both chickory and plantain, is grown over 70% of the farm. They also grow lucerne and harvest silage when crops permit, and in recent years they’ve added swards of red clover, chickory and plantain; good for topping up protein or energy requirements . Home grown resources are supplemented with the likes of brewer’s grain which has reasonable protein and the sugar left over from the fermentation process, canola, maize, or molasses depending on what’s needed. Goats on the farm get treated like so many pets, but probably don’t get as much love as the ones collected as kids each year (covid permitting) by school children, to be raised, shown and judged on their schools’ agricultural fair day. “So many of them come back to see their pet goat,” says Matt. “I wouldn’t have a clue which is which, but I’ll say ‘look they’ll be in this lane or this lane’ and their goats go straight up to the children even a couple of years later, it’s amazing.” Matt’s a fan of farming goats, but he’s also a fan of farming in New Zealand in general. He’s concerned about ever-increasing regulations and would like to see more credit given where credit’s due. “New Zealand farmers are some of the best in the world with the lowest carbon footprint producing the best quality products across the whole farming sector. I’m proud to be part of it.”