Need for more breeders, FedFarmers says

The goat industry has plenty of potential but to realise that, there needs to be more goat breeders, Federated Farmers NZ Goats chairwoman Dawn Sangster says.

''We have got to attract more breeders into the industry and they have got to have a good experience,'' Mrs Sangster said.

''Then we can get more volume and give the processors more confidence to market them [goats].

''They need a better surety of supply.''

She had just returned from attending the inaugural NZGoats Conference, held in Queenstown from May 23 to 25.

The conference was a collaboration between Mohair New Zealand, Meat Goat New Zealand and NZGoats, under the Federated Farmers umbrella, and the New Zealand Boer Goat Breeders Association and had the theme of adding sustainable value to the industry.

Those attending visited Bill and Irene Campbell's property in Dumbarton, near Roxburgh, to look at their mohair goats on May 23.

The weather shortened the trip to David Aitken's property near Gibbston, which runs 2500 Boer goats, the next day.

Mrs Sangster said the visit was ''quite an eye-opener'' for people who had not been in Central Otago to see the Boer goats on hills and the effect they had on the weeds and wilding pines.

The conference went well and gave those attending the chance to network with other goat breeders.

''They could see the potential for goats in Central Otago and throughout New Zealand,'' she said.

Speakers included Federated Farmers' Jeanette Maxwell, who talked about the levy process. A discussion followed about whether a levy should be introduced.

''We decided at the end we should investigate further and see how much money it would take.''

Other speakers included Richard Shaw, of AgResearch, who discussed his Carla (Carbohydrate Larval Antigen) saliva test work.

Veterinarian Ginny Dodunski, of Taumarunui, discussed parasite issues in goats, and was about to launch ''Wormwise for Goats'', an information and best-practice package about goats.

Beef and Lamb New Zealand project manager Fiona Carruthers explained why they used young female athletes to promote beef. ''People who are deficient in iron in New Zealand tended to be young women,'' Mrs Sangster said.

''She said that we [goat breeders] should promote goat meat not as being better than beef but as a part of the whole red-meat package.''

Lean Meats chief executive Richard Thorp talked about exporting issues and the need to have surety of supply.

Mrs Sangster said the industry's challenge was to engage and work together with more goat farmers.

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