Goats as a brush-management tool on pastures is well-documented ("Cleaning Up With Goats," August BEEF (www.beef-mag.com), but they offer a growing market payoff, as well, with the ethnic groups that prefer goat meat being the fastest growing segments of the population. In fact, Dave Sparks, Oklahoma State University (OSU)Extension DVM, says the U.S. produces only half of the goat meat consumed in this country.
Because goats prefer weeds and brush to grass, they make an excellent pasture-management complement to beef cattle, Sparks says.
"Translated to the bottom line, goats may let you sell more pounds of livestock while requiring no additional land and little additional inputs," Sparks says. "In addition to increased income, over time you should also see a decrease in weeds, brush, small trees and invasive forages."
To help producers decide if meat goats fit their cattle operation, OSU is hosting a commercial meat goat conference in Ada, Oct. 13-14. Covered will be fencing, selection, breeding, nutrition, budgets and business planning, marketing, facilities and equipment, forage management, herd health and predator control. In addition a panel of commercial producers will share their experiences and address questions.
Registration is $20 before Sept. 30, and $30 after. Learn more at www.oklagoats.com, or contact Sparks at 918-686-7800 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
-- Joe Roybal