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All breeds of goats and their crosses produce potentially saleable goatmeat. The main breeds of goat that are used for meat production in Australia are the rangeland and Boer goats. Other meat goats include the Kalahari Red.
The Boer goat descends from the nomadic goats of South Africa and was introduced to Australia in the late 1980s and released from quarantine in 1993 for specialist meat breeding.
The Boer goat is the only goat breed that has been specifically bred for meat and is largely recognised as the World's premier meat goat. They are easily recognised through their white bodies with distinctive brown heads.
Boer goats are well suited to specialist meat production and for use in crossbreeding to achieve hybrid vigour and to breed more versatile animals.
Boer goats have appealing traits in terms of production, fertility, maternal qualities and ease of management. Boer goat traits include:
- High fertility
- Heavier than other breeds
- Higher dressing percentage than other goat breeds
- Reach slaughter weight more quickly than other goat breeds
- Meat is low in saturated fat and cholesterol
The rangeland goat is a composite breed of goat which has become naturalised throughout Australia’s rangelands and in isolated, less accessible pockets within higher rainfall areas. The name ‘rangeland goat’ was introduced as a marketing term and is being used to describe goats once called ‘wild’ or ‘feral’. Read more about rangeland goats >
Kalahari red goats come from the Kalahari Desert in South Africa. The commercial breed in Australia is still close to the natural gene pool of the desert goats, bringing all the benefits from centuries of natural selection.
The Kalahari red has a number of qualities that lend itself well to the Australian terrain such as its colour, that acts as a camouflage from predators such as eagles and dingos, its productiveness, its hardiness and its mothering abilities.