Goat Nutrition – Part 1: Nutrition Introduction and Determining Forage Supply | Going into Goats

Goats are versatile feeders and will
change their feeding behavior according to forage availability. In this four part
video series, we’ll help you work out your forage budget for goats so that you
can operate in an economically efficient manner with an eye to maximizing
productivity. The first stage of forage budgeting is to estimate and establish
your supply. First part in determining forage supply is to work out how much
pasture is in paddock so we can use simple pasture yield photo standards as
such as the one i’ve got in the hand which has photos that represent
different yields of pasture in the paddock we compare the photos
with what we can see in the paddock and then we can work out roughly how much
pasture we actually have in the paddock that’s fairly easy and quick to do to
get a more accurate figure on how much pastures in the paddock what we would
normally do is cut a couple of quadrants of pasture so we put our quarter square
meter quadrant down cut the pasture that’s in there and put it into our bag
take that back and dry once we’ve dried it we weigh it on a set of kitchen scales
and we work out how much yield there is of pasture and the paddock and
kilograms per hectare and then we use that figure and we walk across the
paddock taking our quadrant with us and drop that down several times and compare
what’s in that in the quadrat as we put it down with the amount that we cut
earlier in the day so that gives us a much more accurate figure of how much
pasture might be in the paddock if you want more detail on how to work out the
pasture component of a forage budget go to the future beef website there’s a
series of four videos there that explains how to do that in lots of
detail well goats have different feeding
mannerisms I guess compared to cattle but to
sheep as well. They have much higher browse rate. While most grazing
animals will consume some browse goats have a preference for it – so we’ll focus
on budgeting for browse. To find out how much browse we have in the paddock we
use the comparative branch technique so firstly we pick a 50 meter transit
representative area we cut a 2 meter long stick and then we walk that transit
counting every branch that is within browse range for goats. So we walked a
transit that was 2 meters wide by 50 meters long which gave us 100 square
meters of transit and in that transit we found 24 branches after we’d determined
that we took our representative branch and then we stripped all the leaves from
that branch and some small twigs and that’s what we thought
the goats would be eating when they’re out in the paddock browsing. We took
that leaf and those small twigs back and we dried those and weighed them and they
came out to be 125 grams dry weight of leaf
so in that 100 square meters we had 24 times 125 grams which works out to be
3,000 grams of dry matter so that’s what we’ve got in our 100 square meters we
need to work that up then to a full hectare so we can work on a hectare
basis and we need to bring that back to kilograms of dry matter per hectare so
we know there’s 10,000 square meters per hectare if we divide that 10,000 by our
hundred square meters that’s in the transit that gives us a figure of 100 so
our 3,000 grams we need to multiply by 100 so 3,000 multiplied by 100
and then we need to divide that by 1,000 to give us kilograms per hectare of dry
matter and so when you multiply that out that gives us 300 kilograms of dry
matter per hectare of forage that’s actually available for the goats to
browse. Now when goats graze in a paddock and they access browse they can
usually access about ninety to a hundred percent of the browse that’s available
on those trees and shrubs as opposed to cattle and sheep who can’t access nearly
as much as goats can. Cattle might actually be able to access
only fifty or sixty percent of the amount of leaf that’s available on
browse trees. Sheep a little bit more perhaps 70% but goats can access about
90% of that browse so what we’re going to do is multiply our three hundred
kilograms by ninety percent and that gives us two hundred and seventy
kilograms per hectare of dry matter is available for the goats to browse so
we’re going to use that figure now and work out how many goats we can run in
our browse paddock and our paddock for the period of time that we need to work
do a dry season forage budget for

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