Units manufacturing sheep and goat breeding products
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An investigation of organic sheep and goat production by nomad pastoralists in southern Iran
The global goat population continues to grow and is now over one billion. The number of goats raised primarily for milk production is also growing, due to expanding demand. Most of the world dairy goat production and consumption is in Asia, but a global view of the dairy goat sector reveals important lessons about building successful modern dairy goat industries.
The most organized market for goat milk is found in Europe, especially in France. The European goat sector is specialized for milk production, mostly for industrial cheesemaking, while also supporting traditional on-farm manufacturing. Government involvement is significant in sanitary regulation, research, extension, support for local producer organizations, and markets, and ensures safety and quality.
Nonetheless, producers are still vulnerable to market fluctuations. New dairy goat industries are developing in countries without a long goat milk tradition, such as China, the United States, and New Zealand, due to rising consumer demand, strong prices, and climate change.
The mix of policies, management and markets varies widely, but regardless of the country, the dairy goat sector thrives when producers have access to markets, and the tools and skills to sustainably manage their livestock and natural resources. These are most readily achieved through strong and inclusive producer organizations, access to technical services, and policies that enable the poor and marginalized groups to benefit from increasing demand. The global dairy goat industry is expanding rapidly.
In addition to wholesome and nutritious milk-based products, dairy goats provide sustainable livelihoods, especially in limited resource areas, and enable smallholders to accumulate assets. Well-managed goats can also benefit the environment through weed control, fire prevention, the maintenance of biodiversity, and mitigation of some effects of climate change.
This is largely attributed to their diet selection and eating behaviors [ 1 , 2 ]. In addition to milk, dairy goats provide other benefits to owners, including skins for leather, kids for meat, and manure for fertilizer, and can add revenue streams when they graze under trees on oil palm plantations. The International Goat Association IGA has been the global advocate for the goat sector since , and has contributed to the expansion of goat knowledge and practice through conferences, the academic journal Small Ruminant Research , and social media.
Researchers, producers and policy makers working together and sharing information and experiences will enable the sector to reach its full potential. With its mission to promote goat research and development for the benefit of humankind, to alleviate poverty, to promote prosperity, and to improve the quality of life, IGA is the only organization that supports the goat sector in every corner of the world.
It is a global network of people and organizations that links research, production, processing, and marketing; shares information, experience, and best practices; advocates socially just, environmentally sound, and economically viable goat production; and promotes international, regional, and local activities with global and diverse perspectives [ 3 ].
The global goat population has been rising dramatically since the s, due to changing incomes and food preferences in human populations, and climate change limiting areas for raising cattle. Although most income from global goat production comes from meat sales, there has been a simultaneous increase in goat milk production and consumption.
The global dairy goat population was estimated to be million in [ 4 ]. There has been a continuous increase in dairy goat numbers globally, with dramatic increases in the s Figure 1. World dairy goat population heads during to Compiled from [ 4 ], aggregated, may include official, semi-official, estimated or calculated data. Total global goat milk production was estimated at The dramatic increase in the s corresponds to the growth of the dairy goat population Figure 2. Global trends of goat milk production Tonnes from to Compiled from [ 4 ], aggregate, may include official, semi-official, estimated or calculated data.
Demand for dairy goat products is rising in both traditional and new markets. Goat milk and products increasingly are preferred for their health and nutritional benefits, including greater digestibility and lipid metabolism, in addition to their taste, compared to cow milk [ 7 ].
Goats are found in nearly all countries, and are no longer associated only with low income producers, or dry areas. The attractive price for goat products, especially milk, has brought new producers and investors into the field. High quality goat cheese is still associated with France, but is produced by many countries including Italy, Spain, and the United States. Access to good information, health care, production inputs and technology, improved genetics, transport, and markets remains challenging in many areas, as do consistent and supportive policies and strong producer organizations.
The potential for the goat milk industry is quite promising especially for low and medium income countries, but investments are needed to integrate inputs, markets, research, and production infrastructure. Government policy and action are critical to ensure that producers can benefit from rising demand for goat milk. In many countries, official statistics do not include home consumption or informal market sales where records are not kept, complicating efforts to measure the value of goats.
Goat milk for food and income is also important in the countries of the Mediterranean, the Middle East, Eastern Europe and parts of South America [ 8 ].
Most goats are kept by small-scale producers, and are not part of specialized production systems, so it can be hard to estimate the contribution of goat milk to livelihoods.
The goats provide milk and meat, but also are important assets in areas without well-developed banking systems. In addition, goats and their products play an important cultural role through gifts and exchanges of live animals, consumption of goat meat during religious celebrations or rituals, and provision of skins, fiber, and fertilizer for crops.
The dairy goat sector is part of the global dairy industry, which includes cow, sheep, buffalo and camel milk and their products [ 9 ]. Therefore, the price of goat milk relative to cow milk can influence whether or not a producer will expand or move into other activities.
Well-organized cow milk sectors with good infrastructure for transport, processing, and inputs can benefit dairy goat producers as well, as long as consumer demand and supportive policies are in place.
In most countries, goat milk is more likely to be consumed locally, whereas cow milk is more likely to enter formal markets for processing. Nevertheless, the goat milk sector is becoming increasingly commercialized, presenting unexpected challenges. World demand for all dairy products is projected to continue to rise, as consumers become relatively more affluent, and increase their consumption of animal products. China is the largest importer of all categories of dairy products, and also imports goat milk powder and whey, especially for the manufacture of baby formula.
The dairy goat industry in China has seen a massive expansion, especially in Shaanxi, Shandong, and Henan provinces, due to governmental recognition of the potential of the sector, and targeted research and financial incentives. Production cannot keep up with demand from factories, however, which raises prices nationally and globally. Although most of the world goat milk production and consumption is located in Asia, the dairy goat industries from other areas offer some instructive lessons about production and marketing systems, responses to changing consumer demand, and uses of technology.
The most organized market for goat milk is found in Europe, especially in France, but also in Spain, Greece, and the Netherlands [ 12 ]. Dairy goat production in the United States began growing in the s, and larger commercial farms are becoming increasingly important, driven by rising demand for goat cheese.
Dairy goat numbers in the USA doubled from to [ 13 ]. Genetic selection of dairy goats in Europe and North America has resulted in increased production and longer lactation. The specialized dairy goat breeds used in high income countries therefore have high genetic potential for milk production, and have been exported to many developing countries, through live animal transport, and sales of frozen semen or embryos.
These exotic goats have been crossed with local breeds to improve milk production but the results have been mixed [ 14 ]. The challenge is to feed and manage crossbred dairy goats to reach their genetic potential. Thus, research on feed sources, especially from crop residues, industrial byproducts, or processed plant matter such as opuntia sp.
Although imported Saanen goats continue to be popular around the world because of their high volume of milk, research to characterize and select for higher production from local dairy goat breeds is increasing. Many desert breeds have milk with higher fat and protein than the Saanen, and this is valued by cheesemakers and processers. There is some urgency to the project because some dairy goat breeds are in danger of disappearing due to indiscriminate crossbreeding [ 15 ].
Modern dairy goat production is not limited to confinement operations. In Europe and North America, researchers and producers are revisiting pasture grazing, to reduce costs, maintain natural behaviors, and enhance the environment. Depending on the climate and distance to markets, it may be more economical to graze dairy goats for part or all of the year, rather than purchase or mix a total ration of maize and soybean meal.
Goats can utilize browse more effectively than other livestock, and when grazed with cattle, can reduce the parasite burden. Pasture management is a major part of many modern dairy goat operations. Greenhouse gas emissions GHG by livestock contribute to climate change, so strategies to reduce their impact are of increasing importance.
The mitigation of enteric CH 4 emissions in dairy goats is important for economic as well as environmental reasons.
Methane produced as a byproduct of microbial fermentation in the rumen represents a net energy loss for dairy goats. However, dairy goats are not well studied, and production systems vary so widely that it is difficult to generalize. In terms of unit of milk produced, small ruminants appear to emit more greenhouse gases than large ruminants.
Average emission intensity for products from ruminants was estimated at 2. Therefore, greenhouse gas abatement and mitigation in dairy goats will be a significant research goal for the future. Existing GHG mitigation methods for use in dairy goats include use of high-quality forages, protein supplementation of low-quality forages, higher concentrate to forage ratio, and inclusion of fat in the diet [ 17 ].
Other mitigation methods include methane CH 4 inhibitors such as ionophores, probiotics, acetogens, bacteriocins, archaeal viruses, organic acids, and plant extracts; vaccination against ruminal methanogens; bacteriophages; homoacetogens; hydrogen H 2 utilizing acetogenic bacteria; and genetic selection [ 18 ]. Naturally occurring secondary compounds in plants such as saponins and tannins may reduce greenhouse gas emission in ruminants, and goats consume and tolerate these compounds well compared to other species.
In vivo and in vitro studies [ 19 , 20 ] revealed that alfalfa saponins reduced protozoa number and inhibited microbial fermentation in the rumen. Effective manure-management systems in dairy goat production can reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Conventional manure management, covered lagoons, composting, and anaerobic manure digesters have been discussed [ 18 ]. Applying manure to soil as soon as possible helps reduce CH 4 emissions, while storing it for an extended period of time encourages anaerobic decomposition and increases methane output. Additionally, keeping manure dry and avoiding applying it on saturated soil is beneficial.
The application of manure shortly before crop or pasture growth can mitigate N 2 O production. Intensive and extensive dairy goat production systems have different GHG profiles. Methane emission is generally lower in dairy goats raised in a confinement system, where they are fed more digestible diets high in concentrate. Dairy goats grazing pasture can produce more methane, because the animals are consuming more fiber and less digestible diets.
However, when their manure contribute to plant growth in pastures, more carbon is removed from the atmosphere and sequestered. Experience with dairy cow waste treatment provides important lessons for dairy goat production. Although goat manure is easier to handle than cow manure, as farms get larger, it must be managed properly to minimize methane production, reduce odors, and to avoid contamination of water resources.
Dairy goats can be a key tool to achieve the UN Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted in , and its 17 interrelated sustainable development goals SDGs. The livestock sector in general is shifting from its longstanding focus on production in isolation, to enhancing its contribution to all of the SDGs, including human nutrition, environmental protection and gender equality [ 21 ].
In low income countries of Africa, Asia, Latin America, and other areas, locally adapted goats are raised for both milk and meat, most of which is sold informally. In pastoralist areas, especially in the drier and drought prone zones, goat milk is highly valued and appreciated, and is often the only protein of the diets of children. In general, government-led research, extension and marketing schemes have prioritized cattle, and overlooked small ruminants in general, and dairy goats in particular, despite their importance to some of the most vulnerable populations.
Nonetheless, significant goat milk production is found in many African countries, including Sudan, Mali, Somalia, Kenya and Algeria [ 23 ]. In the Mt. Kenya area of Kenya, there are about , dairy goats, and a thriving market for goat milk, and demand for dairy-type animals.
Producers remain poorly organized, however, and there is a great need for technical training and health care [ 24 ]. African pastoralists such as the Maasai in Kenya and Tanzania rely on milk from cattle and goats for a significant part of their diet.
Increased drought and erratic weather has limited their ability to raise cattle, so a larger portion of their herds are now goats.
It presents information on livestock and meat production in the European Union EU. However, the majority of livestock were held in just a few large Member States. One fifth The pig population is relatively cyclical. The population in was back up to that of after fluctuating at lower levels in the intervening years see Figure 1.
The aim of this review is to show the evolution of the dairy goat sector in Europe from all perspectives. Starting from the current situation, the challenges and future potential of this livestock system are presented, as well as strategies to overcome the difficulties faced. Europe holds 1. The goat species plays a fundamental economic, social and environmental role in many regions of Europe. The wide diversity of production systems and autochthonous breeds makes the sector very heterogeneous.
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Goat Farming in Ireland
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Goat System Productions: Advantages and Disadvantages to the Animal, Environment and Farmer
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Meat Goat Production
The nomadic pastoralist system in Baft district in Kerman province is well known in Iran for producing cashmere from Raeini goats. However, there is little information regarding the organic sheep and goat production systems. Interviews and field observations were carried out with 30 Siahjel nomad families of Raen origin in proximity of Baft city to characterize the organic production system in terms of feeding, animal health and veterinary treatments, husbandry management practices, transport, slaughtering and housing. Unimproved rangeland was found to be the main source of sheep and goat nutrition belonging to nomads in southern Iran. Nomad livestock were not fed in stables or in restricted areas but moved and grazed freely in extensive open grazing areas. As a nomadic traditional feeding management practice, there were no minerals, vitamins, pro-vitamins or GMOs for animal feed. Nomad sheep and goat breeds were considered to be robust, adapted to the environment and disease-tolerant livestock.
The global goat population continues to grow and is now over one billion. The number of goats raised primarily for milk production is also growing, due to expanding demand. Most of the world dairy goat production and consumption is in Asia, but a global view of the dairy goat sector reveals important lessons about building successful modern dairy goat industries. The most organized market for goat milk is found in Europe, especially in France.
Goat farming is the raising and breeding of domestic goats Capra aegagrus hircus. It is a branch of animal husbandry. Goats are raised principally for their meat , milk , fibre and skin. Goat farming can be very suited to production with other livestock such as sheep and cattle on low-quality grazing land.
Milk is a complex food that contains vital nutrients for the bodies of young mammals. Milk is the only food of the mammal during the first period of its life and the substances in milk provide energy and antibodies that help protect against infection. The techniques used in the production of milk using cows, goats, sheep and buffaloes began around six thousand years ago. The same species of animals are kept for milking today.
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