Going into Goats: A practical guide to producing goats in the rangelands

Record keeping and obligations

What to do

Keeping appropriate records is important in determining the financial health and success of an enterprise as well as meeting industry or legislative obligations.

  • Financial health
    The key to sound decision making is having accurate information. Without good records, current business progress cannot be accurately compared to previous years or industry benchmarks and management can have no way of knowing whether the enterprise is progressing well or losing ground.

  • Industry obligations
    Rangeland goat producers are members of the red meat industry. As such, they are obliged to observe a number of requirements that ensure the food safety, product integrity and the traceability of animals.

How to do it

Financial health
As with any other enterprise or business, a rangeland goat enterprise should be evaluated regularly to allow modifications to be made to the business operations in order to maximise potential. Accurate records are important in providing the basis for this evaluation.

Important records include:

  • The accountant's reports;
  • Livestock journals kept by the manager;
  • Logs of all chemical usage;
  • Livestock movement documentation;
  • Livestock trading records; and
  • Rainfall data.

Producers should implement a well organised record keeping process to ensure that detailed records are routinely kept, easily accessible and provide an accurate impression of business activity.

Industry obligations
Livestock producers are bound by a number of obligations, nearly all of which require management to keep complete and accurate records. Some forms of record keeping are legally enforceable.

Module 3: Industry obligations of the GiG Guide, provides further information regarding industry and legislative obligations. Specific considerations for rangeland goat producers include:

  • Livestock Production Assurance
  • Livestock identification
  • Goat Health Statement
  • Feed and fodder declarations
  • Transportation legislation
Livestock Production Assurance

Livestock Production Assurance (LPA) is a program that underpins the National Vendor Declaration and Waybill (LPA NVD/Waybill), which upholds Australia's reputation as a world leader in meat and livestock food safety.

LPA is a simple on-farm food safety program, which enables producers to back up claims made on the LPA NVD/Waybills. When producers sign an LPA NVD/Waybill, they are showing their compliance with LPA.

LPA focuses on food safety management, which considers five key elements or areas of compliance, each with a food safety outcome aimed at ensuring that meat from livestock is fit for human consumption. LPA is a vital component for effectively managing on-farm risk.

LPA is compulsory for livestock producers, including rangeland goat producers, who use the LPA National Vendor Declaration and Waybill (LPA NVD/Waybill). LPA NVD/Waybills are now required by most buyers and by not participating in the program it is highly likely that you will be severely limiting competition for your product.

The extent of record keeping and reporting is an individual business choice; however, good record keeping will help ensure that productivity and profitability are being maximised.

Livestock identification

The National Livestock Identification System (NLIS) is Australia's system for identification and traceability of livestock from property of birth to slaughter assisting with biosecurity, meat safety, product integrity and market access.

NLIS is endorsed by major producer, feedlot, agent, saleyard and processor bodies. In addition to this it is underpinned by State and Territory legislation, which forms the regulatory framework for the system.

A subsidiary of MLA, NLIS Ltd, operates the central NLIS Database on which the livestock movements must be recorded. State and Territory authorities provide information on:

  • Property Identification Codes (PIC)
  • Ordering NLIS devices imprinted with your PIC
  • NLIS regulations for cattle, sheep and goats

The requirements relating to identification of rangeland goats vary from state-to-state; however, the same basic principles apply - goat producers should know where the goats under their management have come from and where they are going when they leave their property.

This means:

  • Approved NLIS ear tags for all managed goats leaving their property to show where they have come from;
  • Accurate transportation documentation for all goats, generally the LPA NVD Waybill, to show where they are going; and
  • Recording a mob-based movement on the NLIS database.

There are exemptions for rangeland goats under some circumstances.

These vary from state-to-state and it is important that you understand what is appropriate for your situation before goats leave your property. Contact your local Department of Primary Industries for further information.

Goat Health Statement

The national Goat Health Statement allows goat vendors to provide assurance about the health status of the goats they are offering for sale. While these are not compulsory, they may be requested by a buyer especially if the goats are being sold as breeding stock rather than for slaughter.

The national Goat Health Statement is available from Animal Health Australia.

Feed and fodder declarations

Rangeland goats are rarely supplementary fed; however, when this does occur, such as in a depot or in yards when a truck is delayed and the feed is bought in, it is important that you request a fodder or commodity vendor declaration. These declarations are important tools in ensuring feed that is purchased by a livestock producer is free of potentially dangerous chemical residues.

There are five stockfeed and fodder vendor declarations which may be received when stockfeed is bought or sold by a livestock producer which help underpin Australia’s enviable food safety record and reputation globally. These are based on:

  • Commodity Vendor Declarations
  • By-product Vendor Declarations
  • Fodder Vendor Declarations
Transportation legislation

When transporting goats, it is essential that they are managed in a way that reduces stress and minimises any risks to animal welfare.

Producers must also understand their roles and responsibilities as well as any standards and guidelines when transporting goats.

The main obligations regarding transportation of rangeland goats are around ensuring:

  • Appropriate ear tagging requirements have been met.
  • All movement documents and paperwork has been accurately completed.
  • Goats are handled and transported in a manner than upholds a high level of animal welfare.