Three-year cohort study was carried out to investigate the influence of small ruminant lentivirus (SRLV) infection on cheese yield in goats. For this purpose records of milk yield, milk composition and cheese yield were collected in a dairy goat herd. Cheese yield was recorded as the amount of fresh cheese obtained from 1 kg milk. All goats were serologically tested for SRLV infection twice a year. The analysis included 247 records in total (71 for seropositive and 176 from seronegative individuals) and was carried out with the use of the four-level hierarchical linear model (α = 0·05). SRLV infection proved to be a statistically significant independent factor reducing cheese yield (P = 0·013) – when other covariates were held constant cheese yield was reduced by 4·6 g per each 1 kg milk in an infected goat compared with an uninfected goat. Other statistically significant covariates positively associated with cheese yield were protein contents, fat contents and the 3rd stage of lactation (P < 0·001 for all).