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South African Boer goat research and production systems

A. L. Goetsch

E (Kika) de la Garza Institute for Goat Research, Langston University, Langston, OK

A short-term visit to South Africa was conducted to become familiar with goat production, research and extension/outreach programs, with special emphasis on Boer goats. The normal market weight of meat goats is 20 to 30 kilograms, achieved at 1 or 2 months after weaning. Thus, early age growth during suckling is critical and, consequently, stud breeders are selecting for improved mothering ability and milk production. Boers and other goats play an important role in veld or pasture/range management. It is evident that Boers can perform quite well under very extensive, low-input production systems existent in many South African velds. However, Boers are generally less resistant than indigenous goats to some diseases such as 'heart water', transmitted by ticks, and to internal parasites. Variable resistance among Boers to diseases and internal parasites has created interest in selection for such attributes. Similarly, optimal levels of Boer and indigenous goats in crossbreds are being determined to achieve acceptable growth and environmental adaptation. Under US conditions, pertinent questions for use of Boers include susceptibility to internal parasites and nutrient requirements relative to those of other meat goat breeds or types. In conclusion, a better understanding of research and production systems used with Boer goats in South Africa will aid research with Boer goats in the US. This research was supported by the USDA Scientific Cooperation Program, Project No. 58-3148-9-069.


 

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