Trials to understand growth rates of rangeland goats

04 January 2016

Work is underway to assist producers to make more informed decisions regarding growing out young rangeland goats, understand expected growth rates and to make an economic comparison with a Dorper self-replacing style enterprise.

Little is currently known about the potential and expected growth rates of younger, underweight rangeland animals making it difficult to forecast when such goats may reach marketable weights (i.e. greater than 24kg liveweight). MLA is currently in the process of contracting a project to quantify the growth rates expected from underweight goats and the impact of supplementary feeding on growth rates in a variety of production zones (rangeland, mixed farming and higher rainfall).

This project is strongly supported by the Goat Industry Council of Australia (GICA) and the trials will be based on experimental designs developed by the NSW Department of Primary Industries (NSW DPI). To see the full experimental designs, visit MLA’s research and development webpage. As part of the design process, NSW DPI conducted a literature review of previous studies.

Using data generated through the trials, the research will also provide an economic comparison between growing out goats and a typical alternative enterprise based on a self-replacing Dorper sheep flock. The environmental impact throughout the trials will also be recorded and factored into the Dorper/goat comparison.

The following questions will be answered by the research:

  • What growth rate can be expected from growing out underweight rangeland goats with and without supplementation?
  • Does supplementation improve weight gain in rangeland goats?
  • What is the genetic growth potential of Australian rangeland goats?
  • How does a goat enterprise compare with Dorper enterprise under rangeland conditions?
  • How does a goat production system influence rangeland condition?

The experiments are due to commence in 2016 and run for 12 months. 

Further information

  • For further information, or if you are interested in potentially hosting a trial, contact Julie Petty, Goat Industry Project Manager, MLA P: 07 3620 5225
  • To see the full experimental designs, visit MLA’s research and development webpage
  • Read the literature review of previous studies.

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