performance, heath issues, sorry disposition).
I used Myotonic bucks for two years, then used Boer bucks from Canada for 7 years and Savanna bucks from Canada for the final two years. I sold slaughter kids, 4-H show prospects and surplus breeding stock over time, always keeping the top 33-50%, selling the bottom 25%; this procedure improved herd performance (genetic quality) and net income over time.
I used the record book to sell/price my offerings of breeding stock to visitors/lookers, and I credit these records for generating sell- ing prices 25-50% above the average for the area. I never showed any of the goats at the county fairs but I did have pens there for dem- onstration.
As my wife went down with Alzheimer’s Disease in 2004, I sold the entire herd to a kinsman who needed goats to keep the weeds and brush out of his racehorse pastures. He did not maintain the record book. After my wife’s passing in 2011, I did not start another herd, but continued writing my Goat Rancher column and doing in- termittent research projects with Dr. McMillin at LSU. In 2015, I initiated and expanded my goat brokerage business
thereafter. Health permitting, I will continue to do goats for a while longer.
Goat production on high-priced corn/soybean land I share an inquiry from Terry G in southern MN, to wit: “Just read your article on increasing goat meat supply. I started my herd 18 months ago. I have 13 does with the buck now and 29 doelings to be bred. I am in southern MN with 75,000 Somalian immigrants 90 miles north of me in St. Paul. I need to prove that growing forage for mature goats is more profitable than a corn/soybean rotation. I think
I can produce 130-lb intact Boer buckings in 7 months. I’ll go broke selling 60 pounders. We have 2,300 acres of corn and soybeans but my goat herd brings me more joy.” I first replied to Terry with observations on how best to get his
off-take to the St. Paul market in an orderly, sustainable way for near year-round sales (mostly by kidding multiple times/year). I now turn to the possibility of profitably using high $$ cropland for forage pro- duction for goat grazing and hay production. First, Terry, getting a buck kid from birth to 130 lb would re-
quire and ADG of .5 lb. I speculate that rate would require genetically superior goats and likely require concentrate supplementation — in the face of rising grain prices. The feed cost/lb of gain might be higher than the selling price/lb; careful as you go. Secondly, taking care of more goats might appreciably reduce the time available for managing the 2,300-acre crop and possibly gen- erate a need for hired labor — not a good thing. Thirdly, Terry needs to know the profitability/acre generated by the corn-soy rotation. Thereafter, he needs to generate informed es- timates of the dry matter yield/acre of the best forage crop (grazed, hayed, or ensiled) used in the area.
Does require (or waste) about 5 lb of forage dry matter/day, and growing kids require (or waste) about 3 lb of forage dry matter/day. A doe pair (averaging 1.7 kids at side) will consume about 10 lb of dry matter day.
This being the case, Terry can calculate the number of pairs/acre he can run on an acre of land by dividing the yield of dry matter/acre by 10.
Thereafter, Terry can estimate the gross goat income/acre by es- timating the number and $$ income from the sale of goats from an acre of land. Subtracting the cost/acre of producing forage from the income from the sale or retained value of the goats will yield a net income/acre and thus enable a comparison between the two land uses. These estimations and calculations can only be compared, and
confirmed, by generating real numbers from a head-to-head eval- uation of the two land-use systems, preferably over a three year period.
Other goat growers in the corn-belt have told me they couldn’t
‘economically’ graze goats on land costing (or selling for) $10- 12,000/acre — just too far north to raise warm weather pasture crops and winter grain crops (as is sometimes done in TX and OK). In any case, I strongly suggest Terry enlist the aid of Ag Exten-
sion Agents (Agronomists, Economists, and Animal Scientists) to re- duce the strain on himself, his wife and the children while conducting such a trial.
I conducted such time-consuming livestock projects in the U.S.,
Thailand, Japan, Taiwan, Korea and Poland over the years. I was so occupied by travel and work that my wife once cabled me in Manilla, PI, and said bluntly: “There is going to be some good loving given away in Tokyo this weekend…stop… if you want to get your share… stop…you better get here early…stop …love, Jean… stop.” I made it, but barely — and we soon returned to Texas where I leisurely morphed from dairy cattle to dairy goats and on to meat goats. Nowadays, I just write about goats and broker them.
(Dr. Frank Pinkerton, PhD, is a retired extension goat specialist
living in San Marcos, Texas. He can be contacted at 512-392-4123 or by e-mail at email@example.com
m. His book, A Compila- tion of the Wit and Wisdom of the Goat Man, is available for purchase at www.goatrancher.co
16 Goat Rancher | October 2021
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