Boer goats set to leave mark

23 Feb, 2001 10:00 PM
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BOER goat breeders look forward to Woolorama as an annual chance to report to farmers on the emerging opportunities for commercial goat meat production.

This year at Woolorama Boer they are hopeful they can promote the success of their efforts to formalise a co-operative to market goat meat domestically.

Isobel MacPhail and Bev Szokowski, respectively president and secretary of the Boer Goat Breeders Association of Australia WA branch say the breed is entering interesting times.

Not only is there a continuing influx of new and superior genetics from South Africa but goats are infiltrating every corner of Australia and more people are taking them on at a commercial level.

During the Wagin Woolorama preview tour Isobel said there were 10 WA producers who had pledged definite support for the new co-operative and others had expressed interest.

She said specialty butchers and restaurants were the basis for a surprisingly big demand for capretto peaking prior to Christmas, and the co-operative would aim to expand this market using higher quality Boer infused goats.

To date WA's biggest market has been supplied by a seasonal muster of station country goats offering export buyers a harvest ferals.

The Boers had significantly improved the quality of the station goats but to date the deserved premiums have not flowed through to the producer.

Isobel says this is changing with a group of rangeland pastoralists forming an alliance to sell Boer-cross goats in the 30-50 kilogram liveweight range to Geraldton Meat Exports for slaughter and export.

Producers in the agricultural areas had the advantage that they were able to control timing of turn-off and export markets for heavyweight goats dressing 18-25kg were returning producers up to $40 a head.

The co-operative would become another player in the market to service producers in agricultural areas and look at both capretto and chevon markets.

Initially the co-operative was aiming to form alliances with one or several processors and planned to eventually advance to branding and value adding products.

Association sponsorship of $90 for a pen of three Boer cross goats judged on meat qualities highlights the importance the group places on commercial production.

Last year goat entries climbed to 227 head including Angora, cashmere and dairy goats.

Section steward Bernie Evans said the climate was right for this number to increase. Mohair prices were at a record high with local breeders receiving around $58 a kilogram for kid mohair at auction sales last year.

Similarly cashmere prices were also at high levels up to $150/kg and local stock also shared the disease-free status that has been an advantage for sheep breeders selling genetics interstate.

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