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Goat committee up and going

23 May 2019

MLA's new goat industry research, development and adoption committee (GIRDAC) (as featured in the previous Goats on the Move) has held its first meeting.

The committee agreed that the opportunity now is to build a sustainable future for the industry by leveraging all the goat’s natural assets and setting firm goals for future growth.

The industry’s dynamics have changed dramatically in recent years. Examples include changing producer perceptions as the reliance on harvesting decreases, market growth both domestically and internationally, and high prices back to producers.

These factors have all placed pressure on the Australian goat population with slaughter numbers in 2018 decreasing by 20% to 1.65 million head. See Global snapshot goatmeat.

With this in mind, GIRDAC agreed on the below investment priority themes (in no particular order).

Investment theme

Sub activities/topics

Existing activity in this space

Long term sustainability of the industry

  • Develop/implementation an industry engagement plan (who to target, what regional support is needed, how to target)
  • All investments must incorporate calculation of the financial value of adoption of outcomes (show producers the value of changing a practice)- Improve linkages to industry’s environmental targets and responsibilities

Population modelling, Kid loss, Goat levy, industry and producer performance indicators, Cost of production tool, development of Bred Well Fed Well and Feeding Fundamentals workshops, Genetics PhD

Animal health and welfare

A focus and commitment to continued improvement in this space with adoption of best practice husbandry and management of predation as examples.

Kid loss, Foot-and-Mouth Disease (FMD) Ready Project, Is it fit to load, WormBoss, MLA investments in predation control via the Centre for Invasive Species Solutions, Goat industry welfare standards and guidelines (funded via Animal Health Australia)

Best practice production

  • Improvements to herd structure (turnover numbers and weights, life cycle, sex ratio) Genetic improvement
  • Processing reporting – collection of data to track progress (i.e. percentage processed female) Return on investment for nutrition interventions – value of feeding Non-Commercial Value animals

Visual assessment guide, best practice resources, investment into the Integrity Systems Company, Roadshow, Response of rangeland goats to supplementation and development of least-cost supplement calculator, Genetics PhD