Despite a relatively steady market for existing goat’s milk producers, the outlets at farm level have seen no expansion in recent years and no new processor moving into the market, according to Teagasc adviser Cian Condon.

“Certainly there is demand there but the scale of the market is not known,” said Condon, speaking at the Teagasc goat conference in Portlaoise on Wednesday, which more than 70 people attended. “Currently the biggest issue is the provision of a regular supply for retailers and restaurants to have it continually on offer. Perhaps the way forward is a producer group similar to what has been done with Kerry Hill Lamb.”

Virtually all Irish goat’s milk goes into fresh milk produce, preventing Irish farmers from utilising grass resources because of the seasonality of goat reproduction. “Ireland is already one of the world’s leading producers of milk powder and infant formula from cow’s milk, but we have overlooked the potential of goats to contribute to this sector,” he said. “Certainly Ireland with our existing expertise, facilities, markets and green image should be targeting this area as another outlet for Irish goods and income to the Irish exchequer and ultimately farms.”