We thought a practical explanation of the basics of goat nutrition could be useful for producers to make informed decisions about economical feeding practices and make more astute feedstuff purchases.
Standardized performance testing and on-farm testing programs have been in existence for over 40 years. They have been highly successful in increasing performance of economically important traits in cattle and sheep. They have evolved and changed over time but started with simple data collection and evaluations. These types of programs will work for goat producers as well as they have for beef and sheep producers, goat producers simply need to get started collecting data.
The principle behind performance testing is that economically important traits are heritable. The heritability of the different traits varies but selection can result in improvements in these traits. It is also well established that we can adjust performance data for known environmental effects resulting in a more accurate measurement of performance traits. This makes the use of standardized performance data more valuable than individual weights when selecting for improvement in these traits.
Topics: Performance & evaluation
Meat goat production in the cold climates of the northern U.S. and Canada requires careful management if one is to attain maximum profitability. Under these challenging conditions, meeting the dietary requirements for all stages of goat production (growth, gestation, lactation, dry) is the key to success.
Meat goat dietary requirements are fairly well known to researchers and extension specialists, but much less so to producers of goats. This article will educate the reader of certain basic principles of nutritional physiology as a prelude to making practical feeding recommendations, as well as herd management tactics that may give the producer an edge when raising meat goats in cold climates.
There is one way that goat producers can make their products stand out. It’s a square green, blue and white label that has a picture of the sun peaking over the horizon, and it says: Animal Welfare Approved.
The Animal Welfare Approved seal is a hard earned badge of difference and demonstrates the farmer’s commitment to the care of their animals, the land and the local community. Farmers in this program are distinguished by a humane and conscientious attitude towards the animals in their care as evidenced by a physical audit and detailed plans and records of farm practices.
AWA’s core philosophy – and that of it’s certified farmers – is that the way we raise our animals, the nutritional quality of the meat, milk and eggs they produce, and the impact of the farming system on the environment are all intrinsically linked.