In the past few years, goat milk production and consumption have risen in America.
Compared to the rest of the world, we are a bit of an odd duck as we love our cow milk, but the rise in popularity of goats has led to an increase in the demand for goat milk.
So how does this demand translate to prices we see in stores?
On average, wholesale prices for goat milk are around $4.50 per gallon to $5.00 per gallon. The price is high relative to cow milk due to factors like the availability and demand for the product, the labor costs in producing milk safe for consumption, and the supply chain facilitating a path to market for the product.
These concerns have not slowed the rise in dairy goat herding across the United States.
Dairy goats have become one of the fastest-growing livestock groups in the country over the past ten years.
So maybe you’re thinking about breaking into the goat milk game and hoping it’s profitable to sell some of your extra goat milk.
First, we’ll go over what you need to know before you venture into the burgeoning market.
What Is The Cost Of Goat Milk?
Wholesale prices for raw goat milk can vary, but typically a gallon of raw milk sells for around $4.50 a gallon.
Since cow milk is so prevalent in America, how does the cost compare?
Dairy animals aren’t made equal, after all.
Even at the highest range of prices, cow milk is often more than one dollar cheaper than goat milk.
This price gap is primarily due to the scale of the cow dairy industry in the United States and the fact of cows producing a lot of fresh milk.
Comparing the production of a goat to a dairy cow illustrates the point well: a well-producing cow can produce up to 12,000 liters of milk during her whole lactation, and a similarly producing goat will produce up to 1800 liters in hers.
You might be wondering if it’s feasible to sell goat milk from your farm.
First, consider the logistics of how your milk will get to market.
If you don’t plan on selling in the immediate term, you will need a place to store milk on-site or nearby.
Then, consider the location of your farm relative to areas of distribution.
If your farm is tucked away in a remote location, expect transport costs to increase.
You may need to invest in refrigerated freight trucks to preserve the milk during its transport to distribution or storage centers.
If you plan on selling to distributors, they will add the cost of storage into their margins.
Ultimately, this will affect the price at the consumer level.
Now, negate many of the costs if you’re a DIYer.
In addition, the logistics cost drops dramatically if you are an exclusive seller to your local township, city, or farmer’s market.
However, you still have to consider refrigerated storage at the retail location due to the perishable nature of milk.
Can You Make Money Selling Goat Milk?
Even though there are a lot of maintenance costs involved, don’t let this dissuade you.
Goat milk farming is quite profitable for a couple of reasons.
First, as we said earlier, goat milk is the most consumed milk globally, with rising consumption levels in the United States.
Raw milk also fills a valuable niche for those who can’t drink cow milk.
Goat milk, on the whole, is easier to digest and has less of a risk of milk allergies, making it a healthy alternative for those who can’t drink cow milk.
Globally, there is a high demand for goat milk.
Although the cost of maintaining goats is something to consider, goats require a lot less management than most other livestock.
Goat milk is also versatile and used to make cheese, yogurt, and other products.
Despite the other costs involved, it’s possible to make a profit selling raw goat milk products if you manage your business properly.
Starting A Dairy Goat Farm
The highest upfront cost to starting a goat dairy farm will come from milking machinery and a pasteurization setup.
The out-of-pocket costs of the machinery and systems to operate the farm can quickly run into the several thousand dollar price ranges.
However, the return on investment can quickly pay off even on small-scale farms.
It’s always possible to forgo the milking machinery and milk manually if you run a smaller farm while still retaining the pasteurizer.
If your farm scales large enough, you should also consider hiring labor to help with milking and transport.
Your next overhead cost is the goats.
The price for goats ranges from $100-$800, depending on many factors.
The cost of a goat herd can differ based on the breeds of goats, age, and sex.
If you don’t already own goats, refer to our goat price guide for a more in-depth explanation of the overall costs.
As you search for the right goat for your farm, carefully select the breed, as this can significantly affect the amount of milk they produce and the quality of the milk.
Cost Of Goats Compared To Cows
The cost of goats and cows can vary, but generally, dairy goats are much less expensive than cows.
There are many long-term maintenance costs associated with animal care for both goats and cows.
However, for the short-term costs, goats are cheaper to purchase upfront.
If you’re looking for any type of goat, the cost can run anywhere from $50-$150.
For those looking for a specific goat breed, the price rises significantly.
Some goat breeds can cost anywhere from $200-$800.
No matter what kind of cow you buy, it will typically cost more than a goat.
Often, cows are sold at a price based on their weight.
Calves cost significantly less than older cows because they require more work and have a higher mortality rate.
But a cow at least four months old can run anywhere from $650 to $750.
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