Hardy Boer Meat Goats
Raising Meat Goats with Cattle
Increased Profits per Acre of Pasture
Grazing goats and cattle together, will produce more meat per acre than grazing either species alone. Cattle and goats prefer different species of forages. Goats will eat many species of plants that cattle will not eat such as spouts, greenbrier, hackberry, black berry, ragweed, golden rod, kudzu, and lespedeza. In pastures stocked only with cattle these plants become "weeds" robbing the cattle forages of moisture and nutrients. Because they are not grazed, they flourish and take over the pasture. Unless these "weeds" are controlled the land becomes less productive each year. They can be controlled with chemical herbicides but the herbicides are expensive. They also require expensive labor and fuel to apply. The herbicides can be harmful to the environment and might even be harmful to the livestock and to those consuming the meat produced. On the other hand when goats are placed on these pastures the "weeds" become forages for goats, and they no longer flourish out of control.
Internal parasites (stomach worms) are a major problem with goats. While cattle are more resistant to internal parasites than goats, parasites do lower gains in cattle. The parasites that infect cattle do not infect goats and those that infect goats do not infect cattle. Thus grazing both cattle and goats on the same land not only reduces the grazing pressure on the favorite forages for each species, but also reduces parasite contamination from each, making it easier to control parasites without worm medications. If worm medications are used too much, the parasites become resistant to them and the medications become less effective. Most worm medications also kill dung beetles which clean up the droppings left by cattle and goats. Thus the medications have an adverse effect on the environment and might even have negative effects on the health of humans who eat the meat produced.
Research done at several Universities and USDA research institutions has shown that serecia lespedeza and chicory control internal parasites in goats. Forty three years of raising goats on pastures in northern Arkansas leave us to believe that hop clover, Korean lespedeza, hot weather grasses that come up in July and August, and acorns also help control parasites in goats. Controlled scientific research has yet to be done on the anti helmetic effects of these plants. There are probably many other plants that also help to control parasites. Most of these forages can not tolerate heavy grazing. They usually do not survive in pastures fully stocked only with goats. Since cattle do not graze these plants as readily as goats, stocking with both cattle and goats enhances their survival.
Both cattle and goats are ruminants. Ruminants have an extra organ in their digestive system called the rumen. In the rumen micro-organisms digest forages into many nutrients for the animals. One such nutrient produced by bacteria in the rumen is conjugated linoleic acid (CLA.) Tests on laboratory animals show that CLA can prevent and cure many types of cancer and inflammatory diseases. Preliminary studies on humans show that CLA has a beneficial effect in preventing some types of cancer in humans. While all meat and milk produced by cattle and goats contain beneficial levels of CLA, research shows that ruminants grazing high quality forages have much higher levels of CLA in their meat and milk than those fed rations of stored forages and grain. Research has also shown that animals, grazing on pastures with larger varieties of forage plants, produce higher levels of CLA in their meat and milk than those on pastures with only a few species of forages. Grazing both cattle and goats on pastures insures the survival of a larger variety of forage plants. Much research has been done on CLA. Cattle and goats grazing high quality pastures probably produce many other beneficial nutrients that have not yet been researched.
The benefits from grazing both cattle and goats on the same pastures include: more meat produced per acre, less money spent for weed and internal parasite control, less adverse effects of herbicides and worm medications on the environment, healthier livestock, and more nutritious meat produced.
Come Visit Us and See Our Herd
We are located
in north central Arkansas, twenty miles south of Missouri.
is four miles south of Yellville, Arkansas, on Highway 14.