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Which Breed of Goat Should You Raise?

In the Philippines, more and more people are now raising goats – in their farms, in their backyards, and even in their ranches!

“We have been raising goats since the early 1970s and we have observed that the demand for the animal has been growing,” admits Roy C. Alimoane, director of the Mindanao Baptist Rural Life Center (MBRLC) Foundation, Incorporated.

A non-government organization based in the southern part of the Philippines, MBRLC is not only known for its sustainable upland farming systems, but also for its, goats. In fact, it has earned the moniker as the goat center of Davao del Sur. “If you are looking for good goats in the province, then you better go to MBRLC,” says a provincial government official.

“Unlike in other countries, only a few Filipinos raise goats on a large scale,” says Alimoane. “In fact, our goat population has remained small — about two million more or less.”

Records from the Department of Agriculture showed that goats are widely distributed throughout the country. However, they are more heavily concentrated in central and western Visayas, central Luzon, Ilocos, and in the southern Tagalog provinces. “Ninety-nine percent of the goats are raised by small-scale farmers,” Alimoane adds.

In recent years, Alimoane observes that goat-raising is becoming popular. “A lot of people come to the center just to buy goats,” he informs. “Some of them travel all the way from Cebu or Zamboanga. There are even those who want to buy four to six pairs.”
There are several reasons why more farmers are now raising goats. For one, goats require smaller capital investment than cattle. For another, they multiply faster than cattle or carabaos and they also require less feed than cows and carabaos.

Goats are usually docile and can be raised by anyone — even children. Under orchard and coconut plantations, goats are good clippers of weeds. They also provide manure for fishponds, farms, and gardens. In some cases, farmers can use goats as an “insurance” against the failure of their crops.

But more importantly, goats are a good source of milk. “A [doe] can produce as much as 4 liters of milk every day if its is purebred and is given a ration to meet all its nutritional requirements,” says Alimoane.

At least 12 goat species are known to animal scientists, but only a few breeds are tended for their economic and commercial values. Below are the most common breeds.

The name Nubian came from Nubian, a desert section of the Northern Sudan. Its average weight is about 65 kilograms. Some are born with horns, while others are hornless. It has long drooping ears, distinct Roman nose. and prominent forehead. Its coats color may black, tan and white, or red and white; but it may be any of these colors without markings.

This is a dual-purpose breed with its prime value as a heavy meat producer. Nubian goats produce an average of 2 liters of milk daily. The butterfat content is about 5.6 percent.

This breed originates from the ancient Angora region in Central Anatolia province of Turkey, now known as Ankara. Angoras offer the raisers a highly viable diversification away from traditional crop cultivation and farm produce that invariably are in surplus.

Angoras are primarily raised for their fleece and secondarily for their meat. while their milk yield is considered “fair.” They are browsers, meaning they nibble at leaves and grasses rather than graze where the animals crop the grass or forage. Angoras as shorn twice a year of their fleece and they need not to be dipped after shearing unlike sheep.

This breed originated in the Saane valley of the famous Swiss Alps. It has been exported to many countries of the world and is considered one of the most widely distributed of the improved breeds. It weigh about 65 kilograms at maturity. Some are hornless although horned but disbudded ones are preferred. It has a straight nose and erect ears. It colors is either pure or creamy white.

The average milk production of Saanen is 3 liters, with butterfat content of about 4.3 percent. Although it is nicknamed the “Queen of Dairy,” this breed performs poorly in Asia, including the Philippines.

Also from the Swiss Alps, the name originated from Obertoggenburg. This breed weighs about 52 kilograms at maturity. It is hornless with dished nose and erect ears. The color is chocolate brown with two white stripes on the face and white on the legs below the knees.

Toggenburg has an average milk production of 3 liters daily, with butterfat content of 3.8 percent.

This breed is found throughout the goat-producing districts of France particularly in the Pays de Loire. It weighs about 56 kilograms at maturity. Some have horns and others are hornless. It has erect ears and straight nose. It has multicolored coat with no standard markings.

In the Philippines, its adaptability to local conditions ranks second to Nubian. Its daily milk production is 3 liters, with about 4.5 percent butterfat.

Small but hardy, this goat weighs 25 kilograms at maturity. Its average daily milk production is only about 350 grams, with a butterfat content of about 4.6 percent. Its coat color is either red or black or a combination of these colors. This type of goats is found throughout Asia.

This is common in Dadiangas (now known as General Santos City), South Cotabato. It is mixture of native, Nubian and Jamnapari goats and some may have some Alpine or Saanen blood. It varies in color. Its milk production and butterfat content are a little higher than the native goats. This breed thrives best in the drier areas of the country.

This breed originated in South Africa where the word “boer” means “farm.” The Boer has been a registered breed in South Africa for 50 years and is raised strictly for its meat. The Boer goat can be easily recognized by its beautiful full white body, Roman nose, pendulous ears, and reddish brown or light to dark brown head.

If you cannot secure purebred stock, you can start with the best does available in you area. Mate them with purebred or upgraded buck. Then select only their offspring and discard the undesirable ones (you can either sell them or butcher them for meat. Continue this procedure each year, and you will have desirable goat stocks.

By Henrylito D. Tacio