Keys to a viable meat goat industry
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Keys to a viable meat goat industry






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    Keys to a viable meat goat industry Keys to a viable meat goat industry Presentation Transcript

    • Keys to a viable commercial meat goat industry
      SUSAN SCHOENIANSheep & Goat SpecialistUniversity of Maryland
    • Appreciate goats for what they are . . .
    • Browsers!
      If you’ve got good grass pastures, goats probably aren’t the best (or only) choice for your farm.
    • Why do we want to turn them into sheep or cattle?
      Active, agile, and rangy… and independent
    • We need to select meat goats that adapt best to our climate and production systems.
      Best adapted to hot, dry weather
    • Less adapted to concentrate feeding
      Grain feeding is probably going to be less economical in meat goats than other species.
    • Do we really want to change it by raising meat goats the same way as we raise other livestock?
      Lean, clean, healthful meat
    • Already in demand by Ethnic-Americans
      Muslim-Americans are younger, better educated, and wealthier than the average American.
    • Raising meat goats is a business and should be run like a business.
      Are you making a profit?
    • Least cost rations
      Good nutrition is the foundation of successful animal production.
      Biggest cost associated with raising goats.
      Need to maximize forage use.
      Are you balancing rations or just feeding your goats?
      New NCR requirements for goats.
      Are your goats too fat (or too thin)?
    • Lbs. quality kid weanedper doe exposed for breeding
      Probably the most important profit-determining factor in the meat goat business.
      In most situations, you’re not going to make money on does that wean singles.
      You still have to keep the kids alive from weaning to market and get them to gain weight economically.
      It’s the does that make you money!
    • Get paid fair prices for what your produce
      Goats should be weighed.
      Goats should be graded.
      Form marketing alliances.
      Increase returns by marketing direct to consumers or adding value.
      • Net price [not] bid price.
    • Targeted grazing
      Is there more profit potential in leasing goats for vegetation control than raising them for meat, milk, or fiber?
      We need service providers.
    • Select and breed “better” goats.
    • Genetic improvement
      Select for economically-important traits.
      Understand the difference between genetics and the environment.
      Compare “apples” to “apples”
      Understand contemporary groups.
      Your doe and buck kids should be the best goats in your herd.
    • Breed selection
      There’s as much genetic variation within breeds as between breeds.
    • Embrace performance testing and evaluation
      You can’t tell much about an animal simply by looking at it.
      Top-performing buck sold for $1450 (2010 Maryland Buck Test Sale)
    • Use the tools for genetic improvement
      On-farm performance testing
      Central buck tests
      Progeny testing
      Group breeding schemes
    • Crossbreeding
      Heterosis may be the only “free lunch” in the livestock business.
      Hybrid vigor
      Breed complementarity
    • Where do seedstock producers fit in?
      It’s your choice: “nowhere “or in partnership with the commercial industry.
    • Improve your breed
      What is the role of your breed in the commercial industry?
      Select and breed for economically important traits.
      Maintain high standards of health.
    • Where to wether producers fit in?
      Same choice: “nowhere “or in partnership with the commercial industry
    • Genetic improvement
      Show goats have siblings and other relatives still on the farm.
    • The next generation
      Youth are the next generation of meat goat producers.
      We need to keep them interested and teach ‘em right.
    • If you keep doing what you're doing, you'll keep getting what you're getting..