Thirteen dairy goat farmers from the Waikato region of New Zealand were surveyed to describe and quantify the main features of their production systems. Twelve herds were maintained indoors and one herd was under grazing conditions, the latter farm was excluded from further analyses. All farms supplied milk to the Dairy Goat Cooperative (NZ) Ltd which produces milk powder for export. A total of 11 breed groups were identified. Out of the total milking does, Saanen was 88%, Toggenburg x Saanen 8%, Toggenburg 2% and others 2%. The average herd comprised 20% replacement kids, 17% does between 7 to 12 months-of-age, 59% does 1 to 10 years-old and 4% bucks. Culling of milking does was due to low production (35%), poor fertility (14%), leg problems (6%), mastitis (6%) and other reasons (13%), while 27% died between 1 to 10 years-old. Daily milk yield ± standard deviation per doe and per hectare were 2.8 ± 0.2 and 34.0 ± 3.7 kg respectively; while milk-solids were 0.32 ± 0.02 kg/doe and 4.10 ± 0.43 kg/ha, respectively, over a standardised 270 day lactation. Expenses were mainly feed concentrates (21.5%), dairy wages (20.3%), overheads (14.0%), family labour (14.5%) and other expenses (21.5%). The rates of return on investment were 10.2% and 10.7%, per milking doe and per hectare, respectively.
Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production, Volume 71, Invercargill, 86-91, 2011
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