Meat goats diversify farms, but health is a challenge.livestock
Rich Hill, Missouri — Tyler Black first entered the world of goat meat about seven years ago. He purchased show goats for his two sons and kept them as breeding stock.
The original plan was to have show animals on a farm in Bates County, Missouri. But by the time the Boers bought ten of his, they realized it was being done for the long haul.
However, plans soon changed as Black struggled to keep the goats healthy.
“We’ve had problems getting them to mature and reach breeding age because of diseases and things like that,” he said.
Knowing that there were still benefits to having them on the farm, he began to migrate to Spanish goats, demonstrating his desire to pursue pasture potential.
Black knows goats are an efficient form of weed control and decided to graze a herd to see what it could do.
“Once I started grazing goats on pasture for a few years, I didn’t need to spray tree buds or blackberries,” he said.
Goats run alongside black cattle herds, making the farm a diverse business with multiple benefits.
“Goats and cows don’t get in each other’s way, but they thrive together,” Black said.
This blend allows him to grow good pasture for his cows by effectively controlling weeds for healthier pastures.
“They are saving farm maintenance costs on chemicals and spraying,” he said.
Goats can then be sold for meat to generate additional income for the farm.
“We started with a Boer cross, then bought a group of Spanish goats and ran Spanish dollars,” he said.
Soon after, Black bred Boa goats with Spanish to add size to his offspring crop. Boer goats are a larger breed, so this is a good deal, but Spanish goats are tougher and hold up better in black environments.
“Wet soil is our biggest obstacle,” he said.
Boer goats consistently have foot problems, but Spanish goats don’t need as much maintenance or treatment to stay healthy.
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Black breeds about 25 and manages to sell the young in the fall.
“March and April is when we try to tease,” he said. will sell.”
Black looks to Kansas goat grower Travis Needham for direction when it comes to marketing.
“We want to sell from November to April. The best market is 30 days before Easter,” says Needham.
Many of the goat meat markets are ethnic groups, so demand revolves around winter and spring holidays such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year.
“They have different holidays around the same time, and usually one of their holidays falls around the same time as Easter,” he said.
Needham advises producers to host large auctions of goats and small animals and find barns that attract national buyers.
“The Yates Center in Kansas is one of the best places,” he said.
The bigger the barn, the longer the drive can be, but it’s also important to see what the fees are, as they can increase the market price and cost of sale opportunities.
Black admits there might be a better market if we move the joke season back to June. But managing that schedule is a bit difficult for his business, and Black sees the meat market as a by-product of maintaining his pasture.
“I like to put money in and get through the winter. Even if I have a goat that doesn’t breed, it’s working for me (in the pasture), so selling goats raised by goats is a bonus.” ‘ he said.
But Black says raising goats presents distinct challenges. The biggest of which is keeping them healthy. Parasites and diseases are difficult to overcome. Regular deworming and rotation products are an important part of herd health. And sometimes keeping goats alive is the hardest task.
“I never saved a (sick) goat,” he said. “They have no will to live.”
Still, those that survive and thrive make for useful and fun farm features.
“It’s interesting to see them live and grow in their natural habitat. Goats are fun animals to watch,” said Black.
It’s a great family project as his wife takes care of most of the day-to-day care and his two sons can feed the herd and work safely.
With more land to maintain and more market opportunities, Black intends to grow the herd and reap the rewards. However, he encourages new growers to start small and focus on learning. .
“There will be good times, bad times, and frustrating times like a goat lying down dead,” he said. , I don’t know if we started with cows.”
Editor’s Note: Tyler Black is the cousin of writer Austin Black.