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Impact of animal science research on U.S. goat production and predictions for the future

Sahlu, T., L. J. Dawson, T. A. Gipson, S. P. Hart, R. C. Merkel, R. Puchala, Z. Wang, S. Zeng, and A. L. Goetsch

Journal of Animal Science 87:400-418. 2009

Goat research in the U.S. has increased but at a rate less than that in production. Research on goat meat includes nutritional quality, packaging, color, sensory characteristics, and preharvest management. Goat skins have value for leather, yet quality of goat leather has not been extensively studied. Research in the production, quality, antibiotic residues, and sensory characteristics of goat milk and its products has aided development of the U.S. dairy goat industry. Limited progress has been made in genetic improvement of milk or meat production. There is need to explore applications of genomics and proteomics and improve consistency in texture and functionality of goat cheeses. New goat meat and milk products are needed to increase demand and meet the diverse tastes of the American public. Despite research progress in control of mohair and cashmere growth, erratic prices and sale of raw materials have contributed to further declines in U.S. production. Innovative and cooperative ventures are needed for profit sharing up to the consumer level. Internal parasites pose the greatest challenge to goat production in humid areas largely because of anthelmintic resistance. Study of alternative controls is required, including immunity enhancement via nutrition, vaccination, pasture management such as co-grazing with cattle, and genetic resistance. Similarly, the importance of health management is increasing related in part to a lack of effective vaccines for many diseases. Nutrition research should address requirements for vitamins and minerals, efficiencies of protein utilization, adjusting energy requirements for nutritional plane, acclimatization, and grazing conditions, feed intake prediction, and management practices for rapid-growth production systems. Moreover, efficient technology transfer methods are needed to disseminate current knowledge and that gained in future research.


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