Keys to a viable meat goat industry


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Keys to a viable meat goat industry

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