By Robert Spencer
Finding information on goat production can be an interesting experience. There are a variety of resources such as Cooperative Extension fact sheets, Internet websites, producer-related meetings and books. I encourage people to explore all forms of media with information on goat production and utilize what is relevant to their situation.
I recently read a book which takes a practical approach and has appeal to potential readers on all levels. The title of the book is Simply Meat Goats
and the author is Sandra Solaiman, PhD, PAS, who is a professor at Tuskegee University.
In this book, Dr. Solaiman provides an easy-to-follow, comprehensive guide that addresses all aspects associated with commercial goat production. The cover of the book lists the general areas (five Ps), principles, production, practices, problems, profits and potential. But to give you more insight, a few of the many chapters which caught my attention included: The Meat Goat Industry, Selection of Proper Breeds, Feeding Management, Budget Projection for Meat Goat Operation, and Environmental Impact and Regulatory Issues.
One of my favorite parts of the book addresses the performance and economics of production situations comparing feedlot to grazing to browsing. The results and conclusions are interesting. I have seen Dr. Solaiman present the same information during a seminar, but the findings continue to impress me. Another part of the book which caught my interest is The Ten Commandments of Goat Production:
1) Buy your seed herd goats from a reputable local producer.
2) Quarantine new arrivals to your herd in a separate pasture.
3) Do not confine and concentrate goats in a small area.
4) Practice a scheduled feeding routine.
5) Do not feed sheep mineral mix to goats.
6) Do not castrate if you are raising goats for meat market. It will stunt their growth.
7) Use improved pastures or browse as much as possible.
8) Deworm wisely and use smart drenching.
9) Keep accurate records.
10) Use bio-security measures on your farm.
The thing I appreciate most about Simply Meat Goats
is Dr. Solaiman utilized input from other goat experts as well as other producers. Also, Dr. Solaiman has worked with ruminant animals throughout her career and the majority of her research has focused on goats. Therefore, she has extensive knowledge and practical experience regarding effective and efficient management practices. All this makes her information very credible. Too often I have heard "experts" promote goat production, only to find out they have no actual experience with goats. That is kind of like a brand name car salesman not driving the brand of car he/she sells.
The other thing I appreciate and commend Dr. Solaiman for is proceeds from the sale of her book are applied to a student scholarship. Any parent who has incurred the expenses associated with sending a child to college has an appreciation for such financial assistance. Also, scholarship availability should encourage a young person to develop an interest in an area they might not be familiar with.
Simply Meat Goats
is just over one hundred pages of comprehensive information and quality photography. The publication is an excellent resource for potential goat producers and will refresh or expand the knowledge of existing producers. In my seven years of being a participant in the goat industry, this is one of the most enjoyable and insightful books I have read. Inquiries regarding the purchase of this book should be directed to Sandra Solaiman, 105 Milbank Hall, Tuskegee University, Tuskegee, AL 36088; her phone number is (334) 727-8401 and e-mail is ssolaim@ tuskegee.edu