Enfield farmer Owen Booth is so keen to foster the Boer goat industry he is holding an open day on his property. Supplied photo
Anybody thinking about running Boer goats on their land is
advised to go to Owen Booth's open day at his Enfield farm on
Saturday, April 12.
Mr Booth is a long-term beef and sheep farmer and a staunch
advocate of these South African goats, bred carefully over
the past 50 or so years to produce some of the best goat meat
He runs around 100 of them on his 21ha property, formerly a
dairy farm runoff, and says they integrate well with his
other stock, grazing paddocks from the top down and helping
keep weeds in control and reduce the worm burden.
And contrary to the bad press about being escape artists,
keeping them in is no problem either.
''It's important not to let them roam right from the start
when they are kids so they don't get into the habit - and if
your fences aren't good enough, a knee-high outrigger hot
wire does the trick. They're intelligent animals and learn
really quickly,'' he said.
Mr Booth is an executive member of Meat Goat New Zealand and
of the Boer Breeds Association and believes the industry has
a great future.
Currently, breeders supply the New Zealand market and are
being helped in making their industry viable by Oamaru
company Lean Meats, which conducts a regular goat kill, but
until numbers increase, overseas markets are out of reach.
''There are only about 120,000 goats killed in New Zealand a
year. We need far more than that before we can think about
exporting. At the moment, domestic markets give the best
returns,'' he said.
Until recently, there has been little encouragement for
farmers to consider goats as anything more than weed
controllers or dog tucker, but Mr Booth believes that this
will change as the industry becomes more efficient and can
produce hard facts about financial returns to people thinking
about entering the industry.
Goat meat already has a wide appeal for many the cultures who
appreciate the fact it is lean, low in fat and cholesterol
and high in protein.
Other goat products also have their growing niche markets of
fibre and milk and Mr Booth believes all goat breeders need
to work together through existing organisations such as the
Federated Farmers-backed Goat New Zealand to promote their
Holding the open day is his part in helping to promote the
industry. Phone Mr Booth on (03) 432-4028 or (027) 439-5516
or email him on boothao @xtra.co.nz to find out more or on
the day turn up to his property at 428 Burnside Rd, Enfield
at 1pm to register.
The day will include a farm walk, an industry discussion on
meat, milk and fibre and the chance to form a discussion
- Dena Henderson