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Meatier goats could double farmers’ profits
jueves, 21 de noviembre de 2013
Researchers at the Universitat Politècnica de València, in collaboration with the Centre for Animal Research and Technology (CITA) of the Valencian Institute of Agrarian Research, are working on a pioneering project in Europe to genetically improve goat kids. From the University’s experimental farms researchers have crossed the Murciano-Granadina breed which is the main Spanish dairy breed with Boer goat studs, originally from South Africa and specialized in meat production. The result of the cross-breeding has been kids with high meat content and a considerable potential profit as farmers would obtain an extra 6.3 euros per animal.
The key is to reduce breastfeeding: a purebred Murciano-Granadina kid takes 53 days to reach nine kilos, while the cross obtained in the study grows much faster and reaches this weight 18 days earlier. Thus, the expense in powdered milk (its food during the breeding period till slaughtering) is much lower.
"Currently the farmer gets between 5 and 6 euros in profit per kid, with this cross we get substantial savings in milk replacer. We calculate that the total profit per animal would be around 12 euros," says Nemesio Fernández, Professor of Animal Production at the Universitat Politècnica de València (UPV).
As the Valencian researchers explain, most Murciano-Grenadine breed dairy farms taking part in genetically improved breeding programmes focus selection on production and milk composition. These programmes have not included meat production and consequently the economic value of the kids is reduced due to the decrease in meat characteristics such as birth weight, growth, etc.
"The results of this pioneering project are of great interest as they improve the profitability of the industry," says Ion Pérez Baena, researcher at the Institute of Animal Science and Technology where the study was conducted. Researchers evaluated and compared the birth weight, average daily gain, conversion ratio of milk replacer and the main characteristics of the kids’ channel, fed by artificial breastfeeding to a weight of 9 kg or a maximum of 9 weeks of life.
The next goal of the researchers at the UPV is to start a heard of Boer purebreds that will allow a supply of studs to farmers so that they can benefit from the improvements achieved.