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

Drafting

What to do

Buyers are looking for a specific product to meet a particular customer's requirements. To maximise returns, it is important that rangeland goat producers seek to meet those needs. Drafting is the easiest way goat producers can put together consistent lines of goats in order to meet market specifications. It is one of the only forms of value adding available to rangeland goat producers.

How to do it

Goats may be drafted according to weight, gender and composition.

Weight

Scales are an essential part of a goat enterprise seeking to take advantage of marketing opportunities. Goats are weighed and drafted into lines based on weight requirements of each market.

Goats weighing under 10kg carcase weight and sent for slaughter are known as “no commercial value” (NCV) goats as they generally cost more to process than the goats are worth. The producer rarely gets paid for these goats unless supplying a special order.

Producers can avoid sending NCV goats by drafting off all goats weighing less than about 23kg live weight. These goats can then either be retained and grown out or sold to other producers who will grow them out to market weight.

Gender

Goats should be drafted into groups based on gender and behaviour to ensure the group’s welfare. Older males should be separated from the group to avoid persecuting younger males and horned goats should be separated to avoid injury. Ideally, goats should be segregated into the following groups:

  • Does with kids at foot
  • Heavily pregnant does and small or young goats
  • Bucks
Composition

Drafting a line of goats that are consistent in size and composition ensures the product presents well to the buyer, contributes to the product meeting market specifications and can appeal to some buyers due to efficiencies in processing consistent animals.

Composition refers to a number of factors; goats can be drafted based on:

  • Size - draft groups based on a similar size to ensure uniformity in carcase.
  • Body condition score - based on market requirements.
  • Hair - experienced rangeland goat producers have indicated that short haired goats can handle stress better. In addition, some markets prefer short haired goats while quarantine issues are also a factor in long haired goats.