Although growth rate was not assessed by scale weight, visual appraisal and final sale weights indicated that careful management with protein and mineral boost can improve kidding percentage, as well as kidding weight and growth rate. Roughage is an essential component of the goat diet and must be available at all times. Soil and plant leaf testing may be necessary to identify the appropriate mineral supplements for goats, as there is a large variation in type of feed available between regions.
Goats continue to gain or maintain weight grazing stubble after it has been grazed by sheep - thus maximizing stubble as summer feed. Provision of natural shelter (trees, fallen trees and rock outcrops) or fabricated wind-breaks reduces kidding losses and enhances growth. Returns per head ranged from $30 for capretto to $60 for live export, however these must be assessed against costs and returns per hectare. Variable returns were determined to be due to turn off time and market choice. Goats will eat almost any plant - dry, green and even when pasture dries off. They continue to gain weight on any diet, minimising carry over of unwanted trash and seeds.
Goats eat out weeds and grasses that are competing with clover pastures - enabling the clover to flourish and enhance seed set. They thrive on a combination of stubble or roughage and summer weeds such as wire weed, mint weed or melon vines. Goats will eat these weeds green or dry, eliminating the need for herbicide spraying or cultivation. Goats were used for this purpose over 800 hectares of a cropping program with an estimated saving of around $8.50 per hectare. Improved communication between all sectors and stakeholders in the industry would enhance the image of the industry. Individual enterprises need to choose the target market and product turn off time to suit their enterprise to maximise returns. Continuity of supply of a consistent product could lead to the development of long-term niche markets. Market chain alliances based on continuity and trust will improve returns to all stakeholders.