Goat market triggers opportune breeding

19 Jul, 2016 02:00 AM
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The rising goat market now represents a large portion of profits for many rangeland producers.
With composite Boer goats you get $150 per head, for a feral you get on $100.
The rising goat market now represents a large portion of profits for many rangeland producers.

ONCE seen as an opportunity to stave off financial devastation during drought years, goats have grown to become a vital market for some of Australia's most isolated farmers.

The booming demand has redefined the country's wild harvest of rangeland, or feral, goats, which represent 90 per cent of Australia's goat meat exports, valued at $243.2 million last year.

South Australia has positioned itself as a major breeder, trading young kids which are too small for the slaughter market across the border into States which support the farming rangeland goats.

In NSW and Queensland, extensive production systems are continuing to grow in the traditional sheep production areas in semi-arid rangeland regions.

The rising market now represents a large portion of profits for many rangeland producers.

This is evident with Peter Yench who had harvested goats opportunistically since purchasing Bulgoo Station, Cobar, NSW.

He has fenced and managed the 53,000 hectares to support a rangeland goat enterprise.

The escalating market in the past six years stimulated Mr Yench to value-add by influencing wild harvested rangeland goats with the farmed South African Boer genetics to produce a composite Australian meat goat.

The Yench's run a breeding flock of 5000 Dorper ewes and hold about 4000 rangeland goats.

It is a five-year plan to overhaul the wild genetics with a crossbred herd, which he said yielded a 50pc premium.

"Any Billies that are big enough to sell we sell, but those that aren't we castrate the young ones so they can't breed and then replace them with Boer goats to breed with the wild nannies," he said.

He said this controlled the "bashing", or isolation of Boer goats from the herd by the wild Billies.

"The Boers will gradually take the mob over with their genetics," Mr Yench said.

With the first kids on the ground, he has already reaped the reward of a more managed herd.

"With composite Boer goats you get $150 per head, for a feral you get on $100, it is worth 50pc more and full-bred Boer goats go up again," he said.

"It's well worth your effort to get good goats - I can already see the difference in the Boer goat's (progeny) and the feral with rumps and structure."

FarmWeekly
Annabelle Cleeland

Annabelle Cleeland

is the national sheep and wool writer for Fairfax Agricultural Media

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