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Measurement of rangeland goat growth rates

Project start date: 15 October 2015
Project end date: 15 March 2018
Publication date: 18 May 2018
Project status: Completed
Livestock species: Goat
Relevant regions: Eastern Australia
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This project investigated the growth rates of rangeland goats and the potential gross margin of supplementary feeding.

This trial extended over 2 seasons (2016-2018). Goats were grazed normally on pasture and browse. Goats in half the paddocks received supplementary feed (lupins or pellets). Weight data was recorded at induction and every 4-8 weeks. In the 2016-2017 season, 638 goats were recorded for 3-6 months across four sites (Dirranbandi, Eulo, Kingaroy and Warwick).

In the second season, 450 goats were recorded for 4-6 months bacross three sites (Dirranbandi, Eulo and Warwick). Growth rates increased with the level of supplementary feeding with commercial pellet supplemented goats growing at 92g/day gain compared to 81g/day for non-supplemented goats. During the drought affected lupin trial (2017/2018), supplemented goats achieved a daily gain of 70g /day compared to 32g/day for the non-supplemented goats.

Gross margin analysis compared drought and non-drought, supplementary and non-supplementary feeding and compared goats against self-relacing dorper and merino sheep enterprises (wool and meat). Supplementary feeding produced profitable gross margins in drought years, but not in good seasons.

This is of course subject to the quality and volume of feed in the paddock, prices received for stock sold and the cost of feed bought in. Goat gross margins were comparable to merinos and dorpers on a per hectare basis.

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Primary researcher: AusVet Pty Ltd