Hi-Pro introduces game-changers to expand goat industry

Hi-Pro introduces game-changers to expand goat industry

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

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The planned introduction by Hi-Pro of select breeds of goats and a total mixed ration to the local market have been hailed by both the Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS) and the Small Ruminant Association of Jamaica (SRAJ) as timely and necessary for the growth of the goat industry. These breeds include the Saanens, Boer and Anglo Nubian, which are new genetic lines of exotic local breeds.

“This intervention by Hi-Pro will be a game-changer,” said Trevor Bernard, president of the SRAJ, while Lenworth Fulton, president of the JAS, described the move by Hi-Pro as a “win-win situation” .

Hi-Pro veterinarian, Dr O'Shane McHugh noted that the introduction of the new genetic lines within local herds will be done through a reproduction technology programme, resulting in higher milk yield and meat-to-bone ratio for the local market.

“This insemination programme is aimed at producing more — to provide milk for human consumption as well as value added by-products such as cheese and skin care items; also, money for goat meat.

“Insemination is vital for new bloodlines to be added to the existing herds. This is a part of Hi-Pro's five-year plan for the small ruminant industry, which will also be looking at embryo transfer to take advantage of the swift multiplication of superior traits within the selected milk and meat breeds,” Dr McHugh noted.

At the recent annual general meeting of the Small Ruminant Association of Jamaica at Bodles Research Station in St Catherine, Khalil Brown, animal nutritionist at Hi-Pro, formally introduced the 'Total Mixed Ration' machine to the goat and sheep farmers in attendance.

“This machine allows farmers to add rations such as sugar cane, molasses, grass and concentrate to a basic formula to create a complete, single economical feed mix of required nourishment for the herds,” Brown revealed.

He noted that Hi-Pro's aim is to grow the small ruminants sector and reduce the importation of goat and sheep meat by at least 10 per cent.

In 2018, STATIN reported that imported goat meat stood at $568.5 million or 1.2 million tonnes, while sheep meat imported into the country was valued at $1.669 billion for 2.6 million tonnes.

In his response to the presentation by Hi-Pro the SRAJ president said the “Total Mixed Ration machine allows each farmer to design his or her own feed with the ingredients available.”

He further stated that the various challenges — including praedial larceny — facing farmers when the animals are left to roam to find forage will also be addressed with the new machine.

“Having the mixer will allow hundreds of goats and sheep to be kept in a specified area for feeding, thereby cutting labour costs. This is the way to go!” he said.

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