"SwissCashmere" - or more specific - Valais Cashmere or Valcash is harvested from goats which are crossbred from Valais Blackneck goats and Scottish cashmere billy-goats, the latter originating from a genepool of various cashmere breeds all over the world. The Valais Blackneck (or "Walliser Schwarzhalsziege") is a robust Swiss goat breed coming most probably from Africa to Southwest Switzerland (Kanton Wallis/Valais) about 1,000 years ago.
I started Valcash goat breeding in Lötschental/Valais in 2008 with 5 Valais Blackneck goats and a cashmere billy-goat from the Alpine Cashmere Organization in Switzerland (www.alpine-cashmere.org). Meanwhile, supported by a local farmer, I keep a flock of 25 ValCash goats in St. Niklaus/Valais, some 10 miles north of Zermatt. Characteristically, the front half of the Valais blackneck goat body is black and the rear half white. As the color white is dominant and all selected cashmere billy-goats are of white color, all Valcash goats are generally white. Valcash goat breeding is optimized for producing a limited amount of premium cashmere in a sustainable and verifiable manner.
In Valais, the Valais Blackneck goats are kept for about six months in stables situated in the valleys. For another six months, they are grazing on open pastures, out of which two to three months on high alpine pastures (Alpen) above 2,000m altitude. It is a pleasure to see these beautiful animals coming down from the Alp: snow-white as freshly washed and combed, strong and pretty wild they arrive in the valley.
Besides producing a limited amount of premium cashmere* in 2018 (100g pure ValCash per goat), Valais cashmere (ValCash) goats can be used for alpine vegetation management (for example to ensure the alpine character of unused Alpen); they may also provide meat and dairy products.
On the basis of the breeding success achieved so far, the focus is now on manu- facturing a unique fabric of the highest quality. This involves traditional cashmere processing techniques including dying with natural color, and the use of traditional designs originating from early times of the Moghul Empire.