Keys to a viable meat goat industryPresentation Transcript
Keys to a viable commercial meat goat industry SUSAN SCHOENIANSheep & Goat SpecialistUniversity of Maryland Extensionsschoen@umd.edu www.sheepandgoat.com
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 Boer Kiko Spanish Myotonic Savanna Dairy Fiber 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 Records! Records! Records! On-farm performance testing Central buck tests Progeny testing EPD’s 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.. Unknown