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Singapore’s sole goat farm expanding, going green

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Hay Dairies aiming for 4,000-strong herd after award of tender for 10,000 sq m land

The only goat farm in Singapore is looking to expand.

Hay Dairies wants to grow its current herd of more than 1,000 goats to at least 4,000 in four to five years, said the founder of the farm, Mr John Hay, 65. It started out with just 48 goats in 1988.

It was awarded the tender for a 10,000 sq m land parcel in Neo Tiew Crescent, near Kranji, for $500,000, the Singapore Food Agency (SFA) said yesterday.

It was the only farm whose proposal had ticked the SFA's boxes in terms of production capabilities, track record, relevant experience and qualification, as well as innovation and sustainability.

Its "proposal incorporated productive and innovative farming systems, including automated feeding, solar panels, and... rainwater harvesting systems", said the SFA.

Two other land parcels whose tender had been put up around the same time last year remain unawarded, added the agency.

"For the past 30 years, the demand (for goat's milk) has been going up," said Mr Hay, who has plans to export the milk products once production has been scaled up.

The land the new farm will sit on will be half the size of its current land in Lim Chu Kang, but the farm itself will be three or four storeys high to accommodate the increase in the herd size, he added.

The farm will look towards technology to automate most of its processes such as milking, pasteurising and packaging. However, some processes, such as feeding of the goats, cannot be fully automated.

"Some of the animals, such as the goats which are pregnant or newborn, require special care and feeding," he said.

Still, he expects to be able to reduce manpower from 10 to six or seven with the help of automation.

Among other moves, Hay Dairies plans to dry the waste produced by goats to sell as fertilisers for plants.

The waste currently goes straight to the sewage system.

A concrete well will be constructed in the new farm to harvest rainwater that can be used to wash the goats' barns. Water collected on the roofs will also be channelled to the well. This will help reduce the amount of water used on the farm.

Solar panels will also be installed on the roofs to offset 30 per cent of the electricity usage, added Mr Hay.

Going the sustainable route would be difficult without help, he said.

"Since the Government is supporting going green, I'm going green as well. If not, it's hard to get the money to do this."