This is a question I have heard for years since I got in the meat goat business. To me there is nothing else. The world population outside of the United States consumes goat meat on a daily basis much like we do with beef. Near 72% of the world population eats goat meat. All across the world goat meat is known to be lean, tender and healthy alternative to beef, poultry, pork and lamb. It has less in fat than the previous mentioned meats and actually is quite delicious. ABGA (American Boer Goat Association) has prepared a nutritional chart for comparison to goat meat.
Do to the Euro-Asian influence into the United States. This is one of the reasons demand has provided an increase in goats for meat. On the Western seaboard as well as North-Eastern regions of the United States. Lamb and goat are available in restaurants and meat markets much more than the South and Central regions. Goat meat definitely is becoming more in demand.
Where the dairy goat has been established for some time now in North and South America. It too has its qualifications in nutritional benefits and very pleasant taste. Many people in passing express a strong desire and have asked me for milk from goats. This industry is regulated by FDA. In the last decade there has been a dramatic increase in the meat goat industry.
A contributing factor is the large scale Mohair industry in Australia and New Zealand. This has contributed as well as general progress a technological advancement in disease recognition. The advancements in artificial insemination and embryo transfers have unleashed new innovative advancement for the goat industry as a whole. This brings us to the introduction of the Boer goat into America.
The United States only produces 1% of the goats in the world market. It is estimated that Asia holds 56.5% of the world population of goats. Africa holds 32.4%. Now for decades the many various types of goats that had been introduced the United States were small mountain, Spanish, and dairy goats.
Due to the introduction of Boer breed just over five years ago into America. We have noticed that the size has increased and price has doubled and tripled to say the least. My wife Granddad Ollie Cox, brought over a thousand goats into Nolan County back in the early 1920"s. It was years later sometime after the great depression that the goat value was as much as $15- $20 dollars per head. Now herds are purchased every day of 200 head and up for a standard price of $120.00-$150.00 per head. This is good quality breeding stock.
Now to answer the question “why meat goats. " The front runner in the goat auction market is San Angelo Texas. The price yesterday was $1.43 per pound in 2008. This is the price on goats at 60-80 pounds. The goats with Boer influence have been recorded and are bred, for rapid growth. Closer than ever before, approx. one pound, per day gain after birth. I feed a supplement feed at a rate of 14 cents per day, per animal for approx. 100 days. I also need to mention I provide ample hay for the little ones. They are ready for auction at 70-80 pounds in that time frame. Now for the best part. The goat will birth 6 off-springs in a two year period. Many people in the meat goat industry don't feed at all. Only to maintain herd appearance so to be observed and doctored as needed.
Now a captive goat needs 10-11 pounds of hay per day. That is the equivalent to 3.75 pounds per day of feed. In the winter I feed three round bale of hay per 200 head, per week in the pasture. That is approx. 2250 pounds per 100 head of hay weekly to supplement little more in harsh winters. They do fine with that. That is a cost of $2.40 per animal per month. Compared to beef which consumes 300 pounds per day per animal of hay and needs huge amounts of protein, mostly fed in cubes. Cattle prices are up or down but of late, right at 1.00 per pound on hoof. Unless as in 2008 rains came early, many more cattle where fed out because the pastures were excellent and consequently prices dropped to $.75 per pound. For the most part every cow will be wintered before bred or sold.
In the years past, many of my neighbors that were raising meat goats for pets, brush control and cattle on the ranch. Now are raising meat goats for market and have a few cattle for pets and personal meat supply. The profit margin has changed with beef cattle on good rain years. Even our largest ranch nearby has altered stock toward the four legged ruminant creatures which is contradictory to decades of ranching. Taking into consideration many factors such as drought, harsh winters, and age of the individuals tending the animals also has an effect to be mindful of.
It is simple, to do the math. You can actually lease land and make profit on goats. Wintering an animal is your greatest cost. With winter oats and wheat, if blessed with cultivation, greatly offsets your cost. The goat will do fine in pasture with a little hay during winter. While we are on the subject it is estimated that you can run four to six goats per acre. With proper crop rotation and or irrigation you'll find an improvement on that. Where cattle need 10 acres per head in this part of the country.
Author of this topic and many more is Daniel Truelove an expert author on meat goats.
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This article written by Daniel Truelove an expert on Goat Diseases. For more information on goats, goat lists, goat diseases and many more articles and useful information on goats and goat handling equipment click on http://www.thegoatguy.com