Commercial Boer Goat farmers are questioning the high prices being paid for stall-fed animals supposedly hardy and adaptable, only to see the “meat-carrying” capacity of the goats melt away once they are put onto natural veld grazing under extensive conditions. While some may argue that poor animal husbandry practices play a role – and this is indeed so in certain instances – there are too many cases being reported to make this an isolated instance. While producers understand the need to round-off sale animals, the feeling is that overfeeding at the expense of functional efficiency is unacceptable.
The Boer Goat has been bred to perform under extensive conditions with minimal inputs. Boer Goats are marketed as hardy, adaptable animals delivering high kidding percentages. Clearly this is no longer the case with many of the animals being sold to commercial breeders for top prices. The tendency among stud breeders to stall-feed animals in pursuit of non-sustainable sale prices and auction status, is a dangerous path to follow. The end result will be a proliferation of sub-standard Boer Goat genetics, to the detriment of the core value and health of the Boer Goat industry in South Africa. This will be a sad day for the breed indeed.
The following email was recently received from an unhappy Boer Goat farmer in Botswana:
“These are the plastic goats I discussed with a South African Boer Goat breeder on a visit to Botswana recently. I am closely following related discussions on the www.boergoats.co.za website as our commercial farmers are battling the same problem. This buck was bought for R15000 (exl vat & vet charges) from a well-known breeder in June 2013. A mere three months down the line the buck has changed to the version in the photo at right. The buyer is desperately trying to feed it without any improvement. This is disturbing and I am afraid desperate farmers in Botswana and other less advanced farming areas are still to be ripped off with these price-inflated and overfed animals. This is not right.”