An exploratory study to investigate animal health and reproductive wastage among Australian meat goat producers

Madison Brady, Gordon Refshauge, S. Robertson, T. Atkinson, B. Allworth, M. Hernandez-Jover

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

The Australian goat meat industry has grown significantly in the last decade, with the value of exports nearly tripling. However, because carcase weight has remained constant over this time, the drivers of industry growth are price and supply. Animal health and reproduction are key factors contributing to supply and productivity, yet limitations to production management are poorly understood, hampering advice for effective intervention. This exploratory study aims to provide insights into the animal health and reproductive management practices and perceptions among meat goat producers in Australia. To achieve this aim, 20 producers, located in New South Wales, Queensland, Western Australia and Victoria, operating under different production systems were interviewed. The results of this study suggest that animal health management could be improved and that producers perceive a lack of relevant and species-specific information available to help them make informed decisions. Reproductive management and records varied greatly across producers interviewed. Kid loss was identified as an issue, with a 28% estimated average (6%–47% range) of losses from kidding until weaning. Producers identified predation, doe nutrition and mismothering as the biggest contributors to kid loss, with the majority of losses occurring within a week of birth. All producers believed management could minimise kid loss. This study highlights the importance of improving reproductive rates among goat enterprises and provides new information on the current practices within the Australian meat goat industry. This may assist the development of appropriate strategies for improving health and reproductive management and delivery of advice to producers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)602-609
Number of pages8
JournalAustralian Veterinary Journal
Volume98
Issue number12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 16 Oct 2020

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