A new national goat industry research project led by NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) aims to meet international demand for goat meat by growing kid numbers.
Funded by Meat & Livestock Australia, NSW DPI, in collaboration with Charles Sturt University (CSU) through the Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation, will explore on-farm productivity improvements to boost goat reproductive efficiency and increase supply.
NSW DPI livestock research officer, Gordon Refshauge said the project will investigate factors influencing kid survival and causes of kid loss in local goatmeat production systems.
“Addressing this knowledge gap has the potential to substantially improve kid survival rates,” Dr Refshauge said.
“Based on beef and sheepmeat production results, an improvement in kid survival numbers is likely to be a key profit driver for the goatmeat industry.
“Managed and semi-managed rangeland systems, commercial enterprises in mixed farming and higher rainfall zones and goat studs breeding animals for meat production will be targeted to help quantify the scale and cost the impact of reproductive loss,” Dr Refshauge explained.
“We expect to uncover variation within those production systems given the diverse geographical spread of the Australian goat industry.”
Input from producers is critical to ensuring results can be applied on-farm to improve the national goat meat supply and researchers will seek their assistance when the project begins next year.
Producers will have the opportunity to work with leading researchers and specialists in animal reproduction, nutrition, maternal efficiency, herd health and veterinary epidemiology.
Acting Graham Centre director and CSU associate professor, Marta Hernandez-Jover, said CSU students will contribute to research efforts which contribute to building capacity within the goat industry.
“Collection of on-farm data and the production of producer case studies will generate valuable information, supported by a survey of animal health laboratories and literature review to reveal the main drivers of kid loss,” Dr Hernandez-Jover said.
Expressions of interest from goat producers who wish to contribute to the project will be sought in early 2019.
The Graham Centre is a research alliance between the NSW DPI and CSU.
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