NEW ZEALAND – Cutting grass and transporting it directly to goats makes New Zealand’s dairy goat system stand out globally, say New Zealand researchers.
Goat dairying is emerging as a profitable, innovative sector in New Zealand which AgResearch scientists say uses ‘significantly’ different forage strategies to dairy cow farming.
Typically, one third of goat feed is fresh-cut pasture.
“Most dairy goats are housed indoors and farmers provide fresh pasture in a ‘cut and carry’ system,” said Dr Warren Smith, AgResearch farm systems expert.
“Fresh-cut pasture in a dairy goat system is what makes New Zealand unique in the world.”
In winter months, goat farmers are heavily reliant on grass silage, as are many goat milkers all year round, with some businesses feeding grass silage the year round.
Doing so offers consistency and is often supplemented with maize silage and brewer’s grain.
“Silage is a way of dealing with the massive flush of spring pasture growth in September and October, and to make sure there are good feed resources on hand year-round, especially in February and March when grass dries off.
“There is an extra cost to producing silage but it’s cheaper to make your own than buy it in later on,” added Dr King.
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