We are excited to say that we welcomed dairy goats to our farm at the beginning of August, I am pleased to say they are settling in well and seem to have adjusted to the new surroundings. We have even had some kids already who are doing well. The goats are Yorkshire Dairy Goats who have come from a High Health Status Herd in Yorkshire. They originate from a mixture of Sannen, Toggenburg and Alpine, hence all the different colours. Half were in milk and half are due to kid over the following month or so.
We are currently working on bringing back some cheeses we made some years ago now for a short period, e.g. ‘Bonnington Linn’ which is a goats version of Corra Linn which is very exciting. In addition we will be producing some lactic goat’s milk cheeses, similar in style to Lancelot but different shapes which, all going well, will be available this autumn – our first trial batches are looking and tasting good – will keep you posted. The brilliant thing about goats, unlike sheep, is that their lactation is year round so we will be able to keep going during the period the sheep are dry from September to January which will, fingers crossed, allow our business to become sustainable again and provide regular employment all year round for us all.
With regret we have decided to stop production of Dunsyre Blue for the time being. Sadly, its reputation has been destroyed by the authorities and I have found it very difficult to persuade people to list it. We have various civil actions coming up over the coming months which we are defending so at least at some point the truth behind the outbreak investigation will come out in the public domain. We are still attempting to try and get the IMT to look at their investigation again with a bit of common sense. Unfortunately, to date they remain completely blinkered and seem unwilling even to answer the most basic question honestly. I have to say the last few years have left me with complete mistrust of government agencies who, despite what they say, do not appear to me to actually care about public health or the cause of the outbreak in 2016 over protecting their own positions in their respective organisations. Why the government feels it is OK for its agencies to ignore court judgements puts question marks in place about the whole judicial system in Scotland. To say I feel bitter in an understatement.
Sheeps Milk Cheese Shortages
I am sorry for the breaks in supply of our sheep’s cheeses. As we lost so many customers in 2016/2017 we are really struggling to build up both our sheep numbers (milk) and subsequently our production levels. We had to throw out considerable amounts in 2017 so we cut our sheep numbers right back last year. The Corra Linn in particular will be in short supply for the next few years since the maturation time is at least a year. It will be a three year process until, hopefully, we have it all year round again. To put it in perspective, we were milking over 400 sheep but cut them back to less than 200 in 2018 and we milked around 260 this year. The whole cycle of farming and cheese making has a long production cycle over all, which is very difficult to alter quickly with changes in demand unless you buy in livestock. We choose to breed all our own Lacaune sheep (with exception of tups occasionally) so we can maintain a high health status – this is really important to us and underpins everything we produce.