Push to solve goat growth puzzle

03 Dec, 1999 04:01 AM
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THE WA goat industry is to start lobbying for research funds to find out why a growth stasis occurs in stock over the summer months. Agricultural producers at a goat industry seminar at Muresk recently expressed their concern about a static growth period from March to August. Trials undertaken by Agriculture WA at the Avondale research station confirm that growth rates plateau in both male and female goats during this period. Project manager Tim Johnson reported that Boer-feral, Boer-Cashmere and pure Cashmere goats all demonstrated a growth stasis from March until July, despite being fed grain supplements of 200 grams of a lupin-oats mix a day and unlimited hay. It is believed the growth stasis is related to the reduction in daylight in the southern agricultural region during the cooler months, as the condition is not experienced in the Queensland goat industry. Mr Johnson said producers needed to make management decisions about how to manage their goats during the autumn-winter period. Options could include feed regimes over the duration or turning goats off before the growth stasis period commenced. In responding to questions, Mr Johnson said it did not look like the growth stasis was influenced by nutrition. Some research was already being undertaken at the University of WA, but more work was required. "It is going to be something we will need a substantial amount of funds (for research) if this industry is going to progress to (producing) a heavyweight goat," Mr Johnson said. Animal nutritionist Dr John Milton agreed much more research was required, before the issue could be overcome. "Let's get a basic understanding of the cause of it and then how to control it before we look at an application," Dr Milton said. Agriculture WA meat program manager Renata Paliskis-Bessell said the agency would be prepared to put together a submission for research funds, but it required producer support. "The ball is in the producers' court, because they (funding authorities) listen to you," Ms Paliskis-Bessell said.

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