1 Dairy goats in the United States number between 2 and 4 million depending on source of reference. No reliable or comprehensive annual statistics of goat numbers or their production in the United States exists. Probably three-quarters of all are Angora; between 0.7 and 1 million head are dairy goats; and around a half million are ''bush'', Spanish or meat goats, which also keep rangeland open for sheep and cattle from brush encroachment, forest fire breaks for safety and ski slopes grazed for tourists. A certain yet unknown percentage of goats is kept by leaders of the dairy goat industry on official production record programs. Their numbers form the best statistics available. California by far has the greatest percentage of all official goat lactation records (35), followed by Oregon, Wisconsin, Washington, Arizona, New York and Pennsylvania; these states comprising approximately three-quarters of all official records. Nubian are almost one-third of all official US dairy goat records, followed by Alpine with 25, Toggenburg 15, Saanen 11, LaMancha 6and other 16
2 There have been more than 200,000 official lactation records processed since 1968 under the National Dairy Herd Improvement program (DHI). Almost two-thirds of all records were from first or second lactations and over 5were from does 6 years or older. A distinct seasonality for the beginning of lactations distinguishes goats from cows. February through May accounted for 800f all official lactations with a peak of 27 0n March. Among the 6 different dairy goat breeds in the United States, 850f the Alpine began their lactations from February to May but only 740f the Nubians. For the 12 months in the calendar year, the percentage distribution of lactations starting with January, was 7, 20, 27, 21, 12.5, 6, 2, 0.6, 1, 2, respectively.
3 Age distribution of lactations Of all the normal, official lactations, 35were at least 305 days in length, averaging 1,978 lb milk and 73 lb fat with a 3.7 21372333328992 average. The last overall US average for all official lactations (1980-81) including those less than 305 days long, was 1,643 lb milk and 62 lb fat (3.8). This compares with a world leading goat milk record in Australia of 7,714 lb milk in 365 days and the US leader with 5,738 lb milk and 202 fat in 305 days. It also compares with less than 450 lb milk yields and less than 200 days of lactation length for most goats in underdeveloped countries, i.e., actually for the majority of all goats in the world, including so-called dairy goats.
4 Among the six US goat breeds, recent lactation averages differ little. Saanen lead with 2,116 lb milk, 75 lb fat, followed by Alpine 2,094-73, Toggenburg 2,026-66, LaMancha 1,797-68, Nubian 1,773-81 and others 1,916-70 lb, respectively. Yields of US lactations of more than 275 days in length increased by age of doe from 1,654 lb to 2,022, 2,132, 2,156, 2,083, 1,980 lb for 1st to 6th lactations. During the recent five years, no change in average US goat milk production has occurred which may be due in part to a decrease in the average number of lactations per herd (presently 11.3). This also means a considerable increase in the number of small US goat herds, besides a difficult condition for buck sire proofing. However, a comprehensive, national effort of sire proving is essential for evaluation of genetic transmitting ability, for the needed progress of US goat milk production and for the potential influence in developing countries. It has been shown that native goat breeds in developing countries will improve their milk production by an average of 70 0n the first generation cross with US or European breeds.
5 The predominance of small herds for US dairy goats and intensive feeding management on limited acreage contrasts with the management of most US Angora and Spanish goats on the wide open rangeland. Commercial US goat milk production is limited, however, to no more than 50 herddairies for the distribution of bottled milk and other goat milk products and goat cheese. Less than 10 goat dairies derive their total income from the sale of goat milk and its products. In average, they milk approximately 40 does, retailing and wholesaling between 400 to 1,600 lb goat milk per week. Raw milk permits are available in 14 states, (Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Maine, Montana, New Hampshire, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Utah, Washington). Among the 50 states, half do not have a single licensed goat dairy and an estimated 700f the urban markets in the United States are not supplied with fresh goat milk. In 1978, approximately 12 million lb goat milk in the United States was processed, half into evaporated or powdered milk in California and Arkansas, the other half into goat cheeses in Wisconsin, Iowa, Arkansas, Washington, California and Colorado.
6 The economics of goat milk production under US conditions show considerably higher costs than cow milk production under similar conditions. Break-even prices to cover cash costs in 1978 for a 125-doe Grade-A goat dairy farm were calculated to be $11.65 per 100 lb milk when the annual herd milk average would be 3,000 lb but $23.31 per 100 lb milk when the average was more realistically 1,500 lb. Among the goat herds in the NE-USA in 1979, the top 250f all herds on official test averaged 2,231 lb milk, 77 lb fat, 3.6 213723333289928200000 protein.
7 Participation of US dairy goat breeders in breed association programs has increased greatly in the recent 20 years. Official goat shows and animal registrations increased ten times; official production testing more than 50 times; annual association memberships more than 20 times; and 4-H projects likewise. (Table 1).
8 Future trends in the US dairy goat industry are expected to be around 10 0ncrease. Breed improvement due to artificial insemination with realiably proven superior sires has yet to become possible for more than a few. Goat milk marketing development and promotion has yet to occur beyond a few single efforts on a continuing basis, with reliable quality control of products and processing. Research on factors imparting peculiar goat milk flavor is urgently needed. Studies on factors involved in the destabilization of goat milk during frozen storage and on proper processing methods in general are very much missing. The complex question of somatic cells and leucocytes in goat milk and the occurrence of mastitis needs studies. State sanitarians in most US states do not concern themselves seriously with goat milk producers nor do state milk codes of most US states include goat milk or permits for the production of raw milk when bacterial limits, tuberculosis and brucellosis free conditions are met. Dairy equipment dealers, manufacturers, feed dealers and veterinarians in many states and countries do not offer supplies, equipment, machinery and services suitable or available to goat breeders. Dairy Council and other milk promotion agencies in the United States do not usually include goat milk and goat milk products. Educational agencies, vocational schools, FFA judging contests do not generally include goats and goat milk as an acceptable and valuable addition to cow milk and cows. No silos for economical feeding of roughages are available for small or medium size goat farms. Not much research exits to overcome the seasonal ups and downs of goat milk supplies in contrast to fluid-milk demands.
9 Many testimonies exist from people who suffered under cow milk allergies, stomach ulcers; their children had ''wasting'' disease and insomnia, but they were cured by drinking goat milk; and few medical studies have been undertaken in this area. Predators, stray dogs, coyotes are a big problem with goats on pastures and especially with range goats, but few effective and acceptable controls exist when considering the high investment cost of electric fences over miles of rangeland. The biological control with imprinted guarding animals, e.g. male burros deserves research attention.
10 The mohair industry in the USA is more profitable and their marketing better organized than the goat milk industry, yet the US production of Angoras decreased steadily in the last 15 years from 15 to 4 thousand metric tons of mohair. The total value of 1.5 million Angoras in Texas alone are presently estimated at $60 million, up 12 from a year ago.
11 Literature on nutrient requirements of goats under various conditions is now available from efforts of the National Research Council, Journal of American Dairy Science Association, Journal of International Goat and Sheep Research, and Journal of the American Society of Animal Science. There are more than 20,000 registered dairy goat breeders in the US presently; more than 17,000 4-H goat projects; and more than 50,000 dairy goat registrations per year.
12 These and many other opportunities for progress in the US dairy goat industry are begging for support. New efforts at the California and Texas Agricultural Experiment Stations, the Winrock International Livestock Research and Training Center in Arkansas and several goat research projects at other universities are hopeful signs for the future.