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FRANKLY SPEAKING


Here’s how you can sell your goat meat for $42 a pound!


I am pleased to share with readers an updated instance of mar- keting goat meat from friends Renard and Chinette Turner who raise abnormally large Myotonic meat goats near Charlottesville VA. They refer to their ‘fainting goats’ as BANGUS — An ACRONYM For Best All Natural Goat in the US.


Our Myotonic goats work well for us. They have a linebred family and have culled severely over the years, selecting for medium large-sized, thickset goats that thrive on forages. Over the years, they have downsized to about 50 does and they use bucks from the Vir- ginia State University herd overseen by Dr. Phil Sponenberg — a pre- mier herd.


They have constantly had to adapt their operation as processing costs have doubled since they started. Also, they are having extreme difficulty in getting an appointment to get their goats processed in a USDA-approved facility — only have two choices nearby. They are now looking at April 2021 as their first opportunity to have goats pro- cessed.


They have a mobile concession trailer and sell only value- added, ready-to-eat goat meat at public gatherings such as state/county fairs, holiday celebrations, veterans meetings, etc. Dur- ing the Covid invasion they have intermittently served customers at their home with a keg and country music. A long time ago, I was on a joint goat extension program with


them at VSU-Petersburg, VA, and I heard Renard tell of his operation and give the prices of three food items: 1/3-lb. burger patties, 1/3-lb. smoked kebobs and 1/3-lb. curried cubes with rice. Their average sales of goat meat were grossing $30/lb. The boneless yield from 40 lb chilled carcasses (80 lb live shrunk wt) was about 60% or 24 lb. Thus each goat was generating 24 lb x $30 = $720 — a marvelous net return to labor, management and capital. In December 2020, I called the Turners for an update and Re- nard said they were now selling a 1/3-lb. burger patty, dressed up with their own farm-grown organic lettuce and heirloom tomatoes, for $10. Their 1/3-lb. kabobs with home-grown chunks of tomato, onion and pepper are selling well on basmati rice for $16. Their flagship seller is 1/3-lb. curried goat, slow-cooked with


special organic curry spices over basmati rice for $16 (but likely going to $20 shortly because of popular demand and the time required for preparation).


That ciphers out to $42/lb of goat meat. Multiplied by 25 lb boneless meat/carcass, that is $1,050/goat, as compared to an 80 lb live goat at $3.00/lb = $240/hd.


In this marketing scenario, there are substantial goat processing costs and for depreciation/maintenance of the mobile unit with char- coal brazier and fridge, for rice and serving containers, for producing the organic veggies, and for travel/motels as needed. They share the cooking chores and merchandizing activities during the long hours onsite and on their feet. They expect to resume some sales from the concession trailer in late spring 2021 as the Covid invasion recedes. However, their longer-term plan is to host private on-farm gatherings under a white tent and serve custom, farm- grown meals to customers with appointments.


6 Goat Rancher | February 2021


BY DR. FRANK PINKERTON


Customers line up for the Turners’ goat burgers and kabobs is this Goat Rancher file photo.


A really good commercial meat goat operation achieving one wether sold @ $200/hd and one doeling sold at $250+/hd per doe/year cannot match the Turners’ operation. I applaud their man- agement and their merchandizing, as should readers. It is a compel- ling demonstration of direct-marketing that eliminates all middlemen in the marketing channel.


Body Conditioning Scoring usage Dr. An Peichel’s article on this topic in the August 2020 issue of Goat Rancher details the use of this tool to manage one’s meat goat herd to achieve maximum reproductive and productive effi- ciencies. I now reproduce a pertinent paragraph of her commentary (as paraphrased) by me: “It is best to maintain goats between a BCScore of 4 through 6 (moderate). This eliminates the flux of ex- tremes between too thin and too fat and the associated recovery costs. Goats with moderate BCScores will consistently perform to optimum production.


Any drop in body condition should be gradual but regained


rather rapidly. Does can be flushed at BCS 5 (on a scale of 1 to 9) to attain a BCS 6 at breeding time and attain a BCS 5 or 6 by kidding time. They should not drop below a BCS 4 by the end of lactation.” The American Dairy Goat Association (ADGA) uses a similar BCS system in describing best management practices and again mod- erate BCS scores are recommended. American dairy cattle organiza- tions use a similar BCS system that also recommends moderate BCScores for optimum management practices. Google ADGA and the Holstein Association for more detail and pictures of the body sites


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