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Response of Rangeland goats to supplements and development of a least-cost supplement calculator

Project start date: 14 June 2018
Project end date: 28 February 2022
Publication date: 01 July 2022
Project status: Completed
Livestock species: Goat
Relevant regions: NSW, Western Australia, Victoria, South Australia, Queensland
Download Report (5 MB)


Improved nutritional management is a key driver of profitability in rangeland goat operations and there is limited information regarding rangeland goat liveweight response to a wide range of supplements.

This project evaluated the production responses of young rangeland bucks fed a range of supplements. Results of the experiments undertaken in this project have been used to develop a rangeland goat least cost supplementation calculator that can be used to assist producers find the most cost-effective supplement for achieving target liveweights within rangeland goats.


The objectives of this project were to:

  • Review of unpublished and published data on the nutritional requirements of goats, with emphasis on goats managed under Rangeland/semi-arid environments for meat production used to guide formulation of nutritional treatments to be used in supplement dose response experiments.
  • Collate intake and growth responses (and equations) of Rangeland goats of different stages of maturity to a range of supplements (protein, energy) when fed different basal diets used to generate a relative-cost of supplement calculator.
  • Deliver an easy-to-use excel-based relative-cost of supplement calculator available for download by goat producers to assist them make decisions regarding supplementation.
  • Recommend pathways to adoption, new extension materials and publications, and assistance in the development of on-farm validation methods/projects.
  • Submit a final report outlining the learnings from the project and recommended next steps.

Benefits to industry

This project has integrated theoretical concepts, historical literature and current feeding experiments to collate a large body of information on the nutritional management of Rangeland goats that will be of value to research, extension and adoption staff working with goat producers. The project also provides some ground-truthing of likely liveweight gain of goats fed various supplements and rations. The project has produced a simple-to-use relative-cost of supplement calculator that will assist producers with decisions related to supplementation of Rangeland goats, by estimating the number of days and the feed cost ($/goat) to reach a target liveweight.

MLA action

  • Dissemination of the availability of the calculator occurs via ‘Goats on the Move’ and other industry forums.
  • On-farm validation of the supplementation calculator be conducted via one or more producer demonstration sites.
  • Researchable issues identified within the current project, and included within the current report, be presented to GIRDAC and at other industry forums and included as options in any future research prioritisation activities to be undertaken by industry.

Future research

It is recommended that future research includes:

  • On-farm validation of the supplementation calculator be conducted
  • Pilot testing of the relative-cost of supplement calculator is completed and any final changes, validation and interface upgrades be completed
  • The researchable issues identified within the current project are included as options in any future research prioritisation activities to be undertaken by industry.


For more information

Contact Project Manager: Joe Gebbels or Melanie Smith