versity Agricultural Marketing Economists in states with good goat production and in those with large ethnic consumer populations for their thinking on this issue. As always, we will follow the money. Readers should understand that their 65-lb slaughter goat on- farm yields only about 28-30 lb carcass at retail sites. Think here of shrinkage of live goat and carcass weights, hauling costs, processing costs and retail markup. Long experience tells us that the consumer will have to pay not less than 3 times the farm price/hd for a hanging goat carcass. And that is the reality, for producers and consumers alike.

Prices for breeding goats at record highs I have brokered nearly 5,000 doelings ($250/hd), some hundred yearlings ($275/hd), and fewer hundreds of young open does ($300) this year. Younger kids pregnant at least 60 days drew $300+/hd. The majority were Boer/Spanish and Spanish with some Kiko/Spanish and a few Savanna/Spanish. A few 7/8 SavX1/8 Span buck kids went for $450-500/hd while multiple composite Boer/Span buck kids went for $500/hd. I had no adult does, open or pregnant, on offer. Ranchers know most pregnant does are carrying about $400+ worth of kids and are, accordingly, very reluctant to sell them.

Sellers are cognizant of auction prices for slaughter goats and for cull breeding stock and they use such figures to set asking prices. I noted a premium price/hd for KikoX animals and also noticed that there were more such animals now available in TX. However, the Southeastern states provide the largest supply of Kikos. I had lots of interest for Sav/Span crosses and Savanna bucks but their availability was/is quite limited.

Owners of ‘shiny’, healthy-looking, well-muscled goats typi-

cally ask, and get, a premium for their goats. However, none of my suppliers collect litter-weight weaning weights, so I am forced to eye- ball for visible traits and healthy appearance and to cull those that don’t meet my personal standards.

I try to send loads from one ranch, but sometimes have to send animals from two ranches. I sent one load of 600 doelings to MN from two DVMs and one long-time rancher… no problems were re- ported.

Hauling prices/hd varied with load size and trip mileage. De- liveries were made to CA, NM, OK, KS, MO, OH, MN, and WI. Load size varied from 200 to 600 hd; the bigger the load, the smaller the hauling cost/animal. 200 hd units charged $3.50/loaded mile; 18- wheeler prices vary somewhat depending on whether they are back- hauling or not. For planning purposes, prospective buyers could use a hauling cost figure of $15-20/hd. Cost of diesel fuel is the deciding factor., of course.

Performance testing programs One of our Goat Rancher readers considering doing perform- ance-testing of his herd asked the following question: Does taking adjusted 90-day weaning weights mean I have to mark every animal so I can know who belongs to whom and also know the sexes and date of birth? Yes, I answered. You have to know the doe’s ‘output’ (litter weaning weight and sex of kids) and the sire of the litter in order to learn the genetic merit/worth of the doe and sire. You must tag all the animals involved and keep a written record of the tags so that you can construct a pedigree showing the kids’ parents and grandparents. If you don’t gather/keep these figures, you are forced to select your keeper doelings and bucklings by visually appraising them and selecting those that seem to be the best-looking animals to you. In this exercise, you make the assumption that the best-looking does/bucks will throw the best-performing kids.Not so! Readers should understand that the correlation between physical appearance and performance of a doe or buck’s offspring is low to non-existent. English researchers measured thousands of does in dozens of ways and found that only two body measurements cor- related with (could predict) performance of offspring. The two were: the circumference of the body behind the front

14 Goat Rancher | October 2021

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