LEAD ROLE: Animal Science student Felicity McLeod recently held a goat handling workshop at the property of her parents Andy and Fiona McLeod, Coombah Station, via Wentworth. PASTORALISTS in the Western Division are delving deeper into goat management issues, analysing total grazing pressure and their impact on land.
To help landholders increase efficiencies in their enterprise and address safety and animal welfare issues, animal science student Felicity McLeod decided to hold a goat handling workshop as part of her livestock production major.
The 27 year old, in her third year at the University of New England, Armindale, NSW, targeted local landholders at Coombah.
Felicity said that despite the big growth in goat meat markets domestically, complementing Australia’s status as the world’s largest goat meat exporter, there was a knowledge gap in best-practice handling and management issues.
Focus on rangeland goats has also thrown up questions about how to manage the free-range animal and remain profitable.
“Goats have helped pastoralists stay on the land but management is an issue of total grazing pressure in terms of other livestock enterprises,” Felicity said.
“In the dry times, as soon as you de-stock, goats move in so it is hard to protect the land during drought.”
She said goats, impossible to eradicate, were a valuable resource if managed well.
“It doesn’t matter what type of livestock is run, it all needs to be managed,” she said.
“There is a place for goats as part of a diverse enterprise.”
Felicity’s parents Andy and Fiona run Coombah Station, via Wentworth, where she grew up. They mainly run Shorthorn-Santa Gertrudis cross cattle covered by Angus bulls and Merino sheep.
For many Western Division pastoralists, goats have taken over from wool as the main enterprise in the past 10 years or so, but the McLeods have always trucked goats.
“In the past four years, we averaged 10,000 goats a year,” Felicity said.
These figures indicate goats are not just a sideline business.
Landholders at the workshop inspected drafting, mustering and trapping yards and enjoyed a roast goat dinner afterwards.
Meat and Livestock Australia’s Gerald Martin spoke at the event sponsored by BR&C stock agency, Broken Hill.
Ms Martin said her parents mainly had trap yards on troughs, and about three on dams and use spear traps because they are portable.
She said many people in the area muster goats to get into trapping but were not really sure where to start and what worked.
*Full report in Stock Journal, October 18 issue, 2012.
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