Mariaan Grobler is a Boer goat farmer in the Free State who believes that intensive Boer goat production is a viable option for livestock farmers.
Mariaan and her husband, Cobus, live on the farm Verona just outside Dewetsdorp in the Free State, where she currently runs a herd of about 120 commercial Boer goat ewes on 10ha.
Grobler has been farming goats for years, but has only recently begun to commercialise and expand her operation, aligning it to her ultimate goal of eventually going into stud production.
Grobler believes an intensive Boer goat production is something any livestock farmer can cope with. She does however stress that good management is essential as high numbers of livestock are concentrated in a small area.
Animals can easily become susceptible to ailments in a poorly managed intensive system, even a hardy and resistant animal like a goat.
Grobler currently uses about 10ha of the farm for her goat operation, and this area includes grazing and kidding camps.
In addition to having access to daytime grazing, the goats are fed lucerne, which is always readily available in the area, as well as a balanced protein concentrate mixed with crushed maize.
“They need this for milk production and growth of the kids,” explains Grobler.
Kids receive creep feed from two weeks of age until weaning.
Kids are monitored closely to ensure they receive sufficient nutrition and are supplemented if necessary. “You can pick up a kid and feel if it is getting enough milk,” says Grobler.
Grobler hopes to improve the grazing and fodder crops in her camps or introduce seasonal additives such as radishes.
Her long-term goal is to improve the quality of her flock to the point where she can produce stud animals.
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